This is an interesting story, from both points of view.
I applaud the university for not dropping the hammer on Montgomery. Jennings needs to read some history, as does the professor Jones. He finds it's hard to untangle the Confederate flag from racial inequality, but I feel that is because Northern historians have worked so hard to make that connection that it's almost heresy to speak otherwise.
- The War Between the States was not fought about slavery, but about the federal government excercising power it did not have unequally between Norther ports and Southern ports. The war started, after the secession of South Carolina, with a blockade of Southern ports by unarmed ships of war.
- Abolitionists made up about 2% of the population in the years leading up to the war. Allying yourself with this small fringe at the time would have been politcal suicide, which is why Lincoln never did.
- Slavery was not a serious issue in the Presidential debates leading to the 1860 election of Lincoln.
- Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not appear until 1863, and only freed slaves in the Confederacy, the one place Lincoln's Union had no power to enforce it. It was a measure used as a propaganda weapon, not a serious effort to free slaves (which didn't happen until the 1870's and the 14th Amendment).
- The Confederate flag (which I proudly display as a bumper sticker on my motorcycle) is a rallying point for state's rights and small federal government.
- The flag's rise to prominence in the 1960's had less to do with racism in the South and more to do with federally mandates affecting state's rights again.
In short, the War Between the States had as much to do with slavery as WWI had to do with the killing of Archduke Francis Ferdinand. Was it an issue? Sure. Was it a major issue? Doubtful. Was it the single most important cause of the war? No.
On a side note, Jennings and Jones need to look up the word "diversity" in one of their college library's dictionaries. A diverse population will have equal amounts of liberal blacks, Northern socialists, and Southern flag wavers. Their cause of ridding the world of the Confederate flag is no different than Hitler's cause of ridding the world of Jews - it's just a smaller scale, and politically correct to boot. Or should that be jackboot...?