I'm originally from Maine and I know what you mean.
Currently I'm stationed in Georgia and I was a bit confused at first too.
Let me state here first, though that while I am not black I am Irish American.
What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?
Many are not aware, but when my Irish ancestors first came to the United States during the mid- to late 1800's we were depicted as hulking, retarded, drinking, wenching, immoral people who should not be trusted.
Many, my great-grandmother included, came over as a result of being Catholic in Ireland and because they didn't convert to Protestantism their lands were taken away and my great, great-grandmother ended up having to sell.....yes, sell her then 12 year old daughter into indentured servitude so that she could come to the United States and have a better life.
In the United States at the time there were laws governing the care, feeding, housing, etc. of slaves.
There were none for indentured servants; which is why, in many cases indentured servants were treated worse than slaves were.
There was a song that was popular as late as the 1920's that was titled "No Irish, need apply".
That's why it was such a big thing when Kennedy won the White House.
An Irish American CATHOLIC as President of the United States?????
Here's the way it was explained to me.
Yes, there are many who use the stars and bars as a symbol of hate......in the North, far more than in the South.
The Civil War originally had nothing to do with slavery.
It was about the North taxing the South without the South having anything to say about the issue.
No taxation without representation.....sound familiar?
Right, that's why the Revolutionary War started.
It wasn't until about 1863 or 1864 that Lincoln threw in the anti-slavery issue to lure slaves to the North to fight for the Union Army.
During the Revolutionary War the British did the same thing, hence why there is a large black community in the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick, Canada area.
Okay, history lesson done.
Now, the reason the South still flies the stars and bars is because of what happened AFTER the Civil War as much as what happened during the Civil War.
After the Civil War the South was entirely decimated.
And the North left........just left.
No help re-building, no medical care, no help with food, clothing.......nothing.
And the South was desolate for many, many years while people's families, children, livestock, pets, etc. starved.
Black and white people.
But the South pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and re-built the South.
That's why many Southerners, yes, including many black Southerners fly the stars and bars.
For many it has nothing to do with racism but with Southern pride.
It's a reminder that the South had no help from the North and all of their accomplishments are their own.
That's the essence of the Southern rebel; a do it yourself, self-made, strong, survivor that feels he/she doesn't have to answer to anyone because nobody helped them out when they were down, but God.
American by birth, but Southern by the grace of God.
I cannot help but wonder; if the North treated our brothers and sisters in the South with the same dignity and respect that the United States treated Germany and Japan with after World War II if the entire Civil Rights Movement would have ever happened at all.
It probably wouldn't have been necessary and racism not even an issue.
Think about it.