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Dispute Over Confederate Flag Rises Again in the South

A new Georgia license plate features the Confederate battle flag. "To display this is reprehensible," says one civil rights leader.

A new Georgia license plate honoring the Sons of Confederate Veterans is generating controversy. Credit: Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles
A new Georgia license plate honoring the Sons of Confederate Veterans is generating controversy. Credit: Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles

By Deb Belt

Does a new Georgia specialty license plate honor Southern heritage or celebrate an era of racial oppression?

A new Georgia specialty license plate featuring the Confederate battle flag has fueled a clash between those who believe it honors Confederate heritage and others who view it as a racially charged symbol of oppression, The Atlanta Journal-Constitutionreports.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference spokesman Maynard Eaton said the state should not have sanctioned the battle emblem to appear on a Georgia tag, saysABC News.

"To display this is reprehensible," Eaton said. "We don't have license plates saying 'Black Power.' "

The Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans asked that the state issue the new plates. Spokesman Ray McBerry said the group meant no offense and views the plates as a way for people to honor their heritage.

"We believe that everyone has the right to preserve their heritage," he said. "Southerners have as much right to be proud of their heritage as anybody else."

The national group’s website says it upholds the best of American ideals and omits slavery as a factor in the Civil War.

“The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the Second American Revolution. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution," says the website. "These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built.”

The plate features a Confederate battle flag image in the background that covers the entire plate. It also features a logo of the Sons of Confederate veterans, which includes a smaller version of the flag.

Thomas Maynard April 15, 2014 at 06:27 PM
@ FHVoice no rant about Black History Month.....? You forget those Confederate Soldiers for the most part did not own slaves, and were mostly farm boys. The biggest reason for the south leaving the Union was for States Rights....and slavery was one of the issues but not the most important for either side. When you consider it took Lincoln almost 3 1/2 to write the Emancipation Proclamation it wasn't on the front burner when the war started. The Confederates did not exterminate 12 million people, so maybe that why the Stars and Bars can still be flown. You should be ashamed of yourself equating the CSA with the Nazi party. Just remember it was the Black man who sold those people into slavery in Africa, not the whites. Suck it Buttercup that flag is part of American History....they were all American who fought on either side and shed their blood for what they believed in.
Status Quo April 15, 2014 at 07:28 PM
Very, narrow 'FHVoice'.
Status Quo April 15, 2014 at 08:09 PM
'Tara Raphael', In complete agreement with you, this stirs a hornets' nest, from an organic end of the thread in February... good 'on 'ya, and will bring'on some more fun most likely. We'll be here all week, but instructing liberals and illiberal mindsets about heritage is impossible in preponderance.
Grumpy Old Man April 16, 2014 at 07:40 AM
The claim that slavery was not the principal cause of the civil war has been debunked over and over. The farm boys who didn't own slaves were afraid of the competition that the slaves would provide them, the claim that the free slaves would want to marry their sisters, etc. States Rights was never the instigator of the Civil War except in terms of the rights of states to permit slavery, it was the refusal of the Republican Party to agree to the expansion of slavery into the territories thereby reducing the slave vote in Congress. The Southern states which had succeeded sent commissioners to other state conventions considering secession. Their principal message was slavery and the effect that emancipation would have on Southern culture. Lincoln didn't issue the Emancipation Proclamation until following a Union Victory because he didn't want it to be seen as a measure of desperation. He also was more concerned with preserving the Union and undertook the liberation of slaves as a war measure understanding that he had no other constitutional power to base it on. He was on record for years that slavery was an abomination even if he was, like most Americans, North or South, not accepting Blacks as equals in terms of their actual status, social, political (but equal in terms of the natural law phrased in the Declaration of Independence). Alexander Stephens, the VP of the Confederacy was adamant that the preservation of slavery was necessary. Throughout the war certain proposals were tendered to emancipate blacks who would fight for the South. They were shot down until the very end almost as Lee met Grant to surrender. Facts are facts and you cannot reinvent them to suit some "Southern Pride". I don't subscribe that all Southerners who took up arms were traitors, as some do. Many fought for what they believed was their duty and I do not disagree that many fought solely because their state fought. Lee quit the Union Army when Virginia seceded and he perpetually directed Southern Strategy for the protection of Virginia, even when directing forces to counter the Union in the Western theatre might have produced far greater results. Virginia was his state. He would have been shocked, I am sure, to learn, that his hero, George Washington would have condemned his stand as well as the stand of the entire Confederacy. The facts are the facts and you cannot change them or reinterpret them for your own self image. Yes, there were many factors to the Civil War, Eugene Genovese, a Marxist historian claimed it was all economic (not surprisingly), but slavery was primary. Every compromise in the Congress to ward off sectional differences whether it be the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Kansas Nebraska Act, Compromise of 1850 were all about slavery and where slaves could be transported and where it would be legal. That is why the Dred Scott decision was so problematic as it crumbled these compromises, destroyed Douglas and his concept of popular sovereignty and led the nation onward to war. I do not have any problem with anyone who wants to fly a confederate flag, put it on the car, shirt, whatever. The problem is with official state sponsorship - and no, the battle flag of the Confederacy is not a NATIONAL symbol for all Americans.
Roger April 19, 2014 at 06:08 PM
Revoke the amnesty granted to the southern traitors.

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