On March 4, 1861, President John Tyler's granddaughter, Miss Letitia Tyler, raised the first flag of the Confederacy, the Stars and Bars, on the Capitol grounds. Today, a First National proudly flies on the grounds of the home and museum which is located directly across from the State Capitol building. The museum is a wonderful tribute to President Davis and his family, and a real treasure and asset to Montgomery's heritage and tourism.
Meanwhile, back in Virginia, at the LAST Capital of the Confederacy (BELOW), a Third National flag proudly flies on the lawn, marking the Sutherlin Mansion as the last residence of Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederate States of America.
"The Anne Eliza Johns Chapter 164, UDC was instrumental in saving "the last Capital of the Confederacy", the old Sutherlin Mansion, home of Major William T. Sutherlin in Danville. President Jefferson Davis stayed there April 3-10, 1865 when he and his cabinet evacuated Richmond. The last full cabinet meeting was held here and this is where Davis received news of Lee's surrender. When Mrs. Sutherlin died in 1912, the mansion was threatened with demolition. The Daughters raised $20,000, Half of the funds required, which were matched by the City of Danville. In 1912, the City deeded to the UDC two upstairs rooms in the mansion for a meeting place in appreciation of their work in saving the building. A wall was removed to make one large room which the chapter continues to use for its meetings. The room contains the marble table where Jefferson Davis wrote "The Last Proclamation". The two chandeliers in the room are original to the house. There are many antiques and collectibles in the chapter room donated by friends including portraits of the Sutherlins and Anne Eliza Johns along with items purchased by the chapter such as the iron strong box which stored the gold brought to Danville by President Davis." (http://www.aejohnsudc.com/index_files/Page400.htm)
Through their generosity, the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History was established. Fast forward 100 years, and museum Director Cara Burton has decided to repay this kindness by sending a letter to Danville City Council requesting the Third National Confederate flag be removed from the property. Instead of honoring the heritage and history of the historic property, the museum has chosen to make a request that dishonors the proud history of the Sutherlin Mansion, and disprespects the very organization to whom they owe their existence.
On October 9th, dozens of supporters of the flag attended the Danville City Council meeting to urge members to deny the request. The matter was discussed in closed session, and although comments from citizens were in support of the flag by a 4 to 1 margin, council members chose NOT to end the matter quickly, as they should have, by simply denying the request. Reportedly, more "research" will be done, and the matter will be discussed and action decided in another closed session meeting on October 21st, followed immediately by an open City Council meeting.
The Mayor and each member of City Council announced that they wanted to hear what the citizens have to say on this matter. Have you let YOUR voice be heard? Your ancestors can no longer speak. If you do not raise your voice in their defense, who will?
Please take time over the next 9 days to write, call, and email the Mayor, City Council members, and the City Manager's office. Be polite, but firm...and encourage them to honor the history and heritage of Danville and her people by denying the absurd request by the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History. Ask them to honor the 1994 resolution and abide by Virginia State Law, which prohibits the removal of the memorial flag.
A City Council staff directory, with contact information can be found here: http://www.danville-va.gov/Directory.aspx?did=26
City Manager's Office directory here... http://www.danville-va.gov/Directory.aspx?did=7
ACT NOW...forward this information to help reach as many as possible... and make plans to attend the meeting on October 21st.
P.O. Box 547
Sandston VA 23150