(Photo courtesy of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles)

Many Americans believe symbols of the Confederacy represent a shameful period in the nation’s history that are best left in the past.

Texas Governor and GOP Presidential contender Rick Perry is not one of them.

Perry, throughout his political life, has defended public displays of the Confederate flag and other such symbols in Texas, saying “Texans should never forget our history.”

While defense of the Confederate stars and bars may play well south of the Mason-Dixon line, clinging to a past that supported slavery is usually the kiss of death in the rest of the country.

But that was before the election of America’s first African-American president triggered a resurgence of racism in this country and prompted the rise of hate-driven movements like the tea party.

Still, questions of racism increasingly dog Perry’s flagging campaign for President. The one-time GOP frontrunner is dropping in the polls as his past embraces of racist acts emerge.

Perry came under fire over the weekend for the name of his family’s former hunting camp — once called “Niggerhead.”

As lieutenant governor, Perry fought against efforts to remove two bronze plagues with symbols of the Confederacy from display in the Texas Supreme Court building.

Perry has often supported efforts by the Sons of Confederate Veterans to use state buildings and other taxpayer-supported venues to display signs of the Confederacy.  The organization’s latest effort is to have the state issue special license plates displaying the Confederate battle flag.

In 2007, Perry honored the memory of former Texas governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross, a confederate soldier charged with overseeing the murder of black prisoners of war in Mississippi.

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