Originally a comment by freedmenspatrol on Very much a part of many white Southerners’ identity.
For quite some time, white Southerners actually refused to observe the national Memorial Day. In various places they also didn’t celebrate the Fourth of July. Not so many wave the flag or the other totems as have done in past generations, but plenty of white Americans still do. It’s worked deep into how the culture operates, inside and outside the South. The Second Klan controlled Indiana and Oregon for a while. White Northerners could be absolutely vicious even when they had slavery around for contrast, passing laws excluding black Americans from even living in entire states and demanding those present leave.
It’s what we get for developing our ideas of freedom in the context of the evolving slave society in the Chesapeake. Freedom became white, slavery black, and black Americans thus permanent outsiders. It didn’t matter that they fought in the Revolution (for the last time until the Emancipation Proclamation, in fact) and black voters helped ratify the Constitution. A free black person was just a weird exception that roused considerable fears, never one of “us”. Whites had built an an “us” on their skin color, where all imagined themselves equal not by their material condition, not by their personal talents or potential, but rather by the peerless achievement of not choosing for themselves black skin.
This no longer informs us as much as it once did, but we have a long way to go to raze the house that slavery built. Some of us will fight that effort all the way to the bitter end, as they have before. That probably doesn’t mean armies again, but it didn’t take armies to reduce freedpeople back to near-slavery either. White terrorism suffices.