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South Carolina Isn’t Only State To Have Struggled With Confederate Flag Displays

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South Carolina Isn’t Only State To Have Struggled With Confederate Flag Displays

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By James Queally, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Days after an attack on a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which police say Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people because of the color of their skin, activists and politicians nationwide turned their anger toward the Confederate flag that flies on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse in Columbia.

The flag, emblematic of slavery to most but a symbol of states’ rights and Southern pride to others, has become something of a political football in the wake of the shootings. President Barack Obama and several candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 called for the “stars and bars” to be taken down.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley joined that chorus Monday, when she called on the state’s Legislature to vote for the flag to be taken down as soon as possible. While frustration with the battle flag has been palpable since last Wednesday’s shootings, South Carolina isn’t the only state that has flown a flag adorned with the secession-era relic in recent years.

Mississippi
The Confederate battle flag has hung in the upper left-hand corner of Mississippi’s state flag since 1894. In 2001, the NAACP, Netscape’s chief executive and actor Morgan Freeman led a campaign to change that, pushing an initiative onto the state’s ballot that year that could have removed the Confederate emblem from the state flag.

They lost, badly. Two-thirds of Mississippi voters backed the old flag, leaving it the only state in the United States to have the Confederate symbol as part of its official state flag. While South Carolina flies the “Dixie” flag on the statehouse grounds, it is not the official state banner.

A petition to change Mississippi’s state flag has gained more than 3,500 signatures on moveon.org.

Jennifer Gunter, a Mississippi native who now lives in Columbia, started the petition two days after the shootings at Emanuel AME church in Charleston. She was involved in campaigns to change her home state’s flag in 2001 and hopes the renewed national attention will lead Mississippi’s lawmakers and voters to reconsider the issue.

“I hope to see Mississippi change our flag and move into the present as a unified group who can feel proud to display our state flag,” she said.

Georgia
After making some last-minute deals with Republican legislators, including promising to hang a picture of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the state Capitol, former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes was able to sign legislation that greatly reduced the prominence of the Confederate battle emblem on the state’s flag.

For 45 years, the state flag was dominated by an image of the Confederate cross. But the state Senate passed a 2001 resolution that called for a new design, composed largely of Georgia’s state seal across a field of royal blue. A banner running along the bottom boasts several historical flag designs, including the most recent version that included the cross.

The debate sparked a dramatic standoff between Atlanta-area Democrats and rural Republican senators on the statehouse floor, but the bill eventually passed by a vote of 34-22.

Alabama
In 1994, former Alabama Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. had the Confederate flag removed from the state Capitol, where it flew as then-Gov. George C. Wallace sent state troopers to clash with Martin Luther King Jr. on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965.

But Alabama’s state flag itself is still sometimes cause for controversy, as the design is generally thought to be a representation of the Confederate cross, according to the state’s Department of Archives and History.

Dr. Thomas Owen, the former department director, concluded in 1915 that the flag design was meant to “preserve in permanent form some of the more distinctive features of the Confederate battle flag, particularly the St. Andrew’s cross.”

(c)2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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11 Comments

  1. Dominick Vila June 23, 2015

    What happened in Charleston is not an aberration. It is a manifestation of the intense ethnic and cultural hatred that permeates throughout a segment of our society determined to live in the past and preserve a part of its history and traditions that, for most of us, are offensive.
    The Confederate flag has very different meanings to people in the South. For white it is a symbol of its past, and a symbol used to honor those who fought and died for what they believed in. For African Americans, and other ethnic minorities, it is a symbol of slavery, and a reminder of what happened when people were brought to this country in shackles, sold in slave markets, separates from their loved ones, and whipped or lynched. The issue is not about constitutional rights, but about the need to respect the rights and aspirations of most of our citizens.
    If we want to learn about our history, go to college and take a history class. Go to a museum or a library and learn from the objects displayed in those places. Or go to private institutions or churches to worship or praise your ancestors, but don’t flaunt your “rights” on the victims of a nefarious past.

    Reply
    1. Leftout June 23, 2015

      “The flag,is NOT emblematic of slavery to most but a symbol of states’ rights and Southern pride to others,” has become something of a political football in the wake of the shootings….typical yellow journalism aimed at splitting a great nation. It is tiring and predictable. I went to school in the South , coming from NE area . I never heard the “N” word. Most Southerneers were gentlemanly and the women proper and courteous …. Especially Blacks . Slavery was going out anyway, to be replaced by industrialization. There are always a bunch of Al Sharptons and Mitt Romneys about to change human events.

      1. Bob M June 23, 2015

        You need to read South Carolina & Mississippi Declaration of Immediate Cause which was their justification for succession. The only states’ right that they wanted to protect was slavery. The stars and bars has always stood for the preservation of slavery and later Jim Crow.

      2. chino49p June 23, 2015

        Man, you really are delusional. Talk about splitting a great nation, it was the people of the confederacy who committed TREASON against this great nation and they did it because they felt that Negro people should always be kept in subjugation and oppression by the superior white race.
        the emblem of southern treason & racism was brought to prominance there in S.C. in 1961 or 1962 as an OFFICIAL protest against the growing civil rights movement that was championing EQUAL rights for minorities. That is what it STANDS for–racial hatred & oppression & treason.
        Treason and white supremacy are nothing to be PROUD of! Its something to be ashamed of!
        There is very good reason why white supremacist organizations fly the nazi and confederate emblems. They all stand for racial hatred. Get a grip on reality man.

        1. Dominick Vila June 23, 2015

          I find it interesting that after many years, following the end of the Civil War, South Caroline, the first state to secede, decided to hoist the confederate flag immediately after the Civil Rights movement and school desegregation.

      3. Dominick Vila June 23, 2015

        For the descendents of slaves, the confederate flag is an iconic symbol of slavery, and an era that belongs in the history books, rather than on the dome of a state Capitol building.

    2. Carolyn1520 June 23, 2015

      I agree with most everything you stated but I disagree with “For white it is a symbol of its past, and a symbol used to honor those who fought and died for what they believed in.”
      I think that’s the representation some whites are trying to sell. It ‘s true, it is a symbol of the past and belongs in a museum and that’s where it should have stayed if it was to retain that particular meaning.
      The meaning of symbols are fluid. As with the Nazi swastika, which was once a sacred symbol in a number of religions, it became something much more sinister in the hands of the Nazis as did the confederate battle flag in the hands of those who were against the civil rights for people of color and people who hid behind white hoods while doing evil. In it’s current day use, it’s present at anti immigration rallies and has been adopted by white supremacists as well as swastikas. Hitler wanted the swastika to represent Aryan pride. I doubt many people see these two symbols and think of
      the original roots of either symbol especially those who have been diminished, brutalized or murdered by those wearing it. It’s not lost on many people that the battle flag of the northern VA confederacy was raise at the SC Capital in 1961. It wasn’t high on the list of concerns at a time when civil rights activists had voting rights and segregation as more pressing issues to deal with.
      I’m tired of accommodating people who are willing to offend an entire segment of the population, our fellow citizens, under the guise of “pride in their heritage” .
      For at least the past 60+ years the Northern VA battle flag has come to represent white supremacy and racism. That’s the heritage and southern pride they wish to embrace?
      Yes. I believe it is.

  2. FT66 June 23, 2015

    I listened carefully to what Gov. Nikki Haley said yesterday of a call to remove the flag. Her speech was well and good BUT full of shortfalls. She said you can keep your flag at your own yard. Really! seeing that flag on own yard everyday won’t prompt one to go and act as Roof did?. She said only about taking down the flag, what about saying taking other more steps like gun control? The flag might be pulled down tomorrow or in the near future, will that stop anyone to act like Roof did? And if it will happen the horrible shooting takes place again (god forbid), will she say: BUT we put the flag down! Come folks, this habit of covering the dirty and jumping over it won’t solve any problem.

    Reply
  3. plc97477 June 23, 2015

    Maybe some southern racists can explain to me how a symbol of the war you lost has such a draw for you.

    Reply
    1. Muawiyah August 15, 2015

      The Demos were in charge and they put that flag up. As everybody has realized by now, except for the commie minority, the Demos haven’t given up on black slavery. They think it can make a comeback!

  4. springerj June 24, 2015

    The Georgia State flag IS the flag of the Confederate States of America (“Stars and Bars”) with the mere addition of the Georgia seal. I find that more offensive than any of the other state flags.

    Reply

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