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Battle Cry: Dispute Over Confederate Flag Rises Again in Georgia

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

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-Constitution reports.

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

David Tiffany February 24, 2014 at 07:32 PM
Darren, no one has tried to insult the South or Confederate history. The history speaks for itself. All anyone has tried to say is that it is wrong for the State of Georgia to promote a symbol that some of its citizens - and citizens of other states - find offensive.
Wayne Kelley February 24, 2014 at 08:53 PM
I think comparing the history of slavery in the United States, whether in Georgia, in Mississippi, in Rhode Island, in New York City - anywhere it was employed, to the Holocaust, is an extremely apt comparison. Darren, have you ever taken time to read accounts of the conditions and treatment of slaves in this country? It is horrific by anyone's standards. The difference is that Rhode Island voluntarily, as a state, ended slavery within its borders around 1800. Way too late, considering it never should have begun, but at least they decided to end it. Georgia and the other secession states not only didn't end it voluntarily, they went to war to preserve it and killed many tens of thousands of American soldiers in the process. Your argument that the Confederacy was a legitimate federal nation makes it even WORSE. By that logic the CSA was a hostile enemy state to the USA, no different than Germany, Japan, Iraq under Hussein, Afghanistan under Taliban, and so on. How can anyone who glorifies the CSA out of one side of their mouth call themselves a patriotic American out of the other? It's ludicrous.
Wayne Kelley February 24, 2014 at 08:58 PM
For the last time: I don't give a crap who had more slaves, who started it, under whom it flourished, and so on and so on. If there are visible symbols of those others, and if they have a similar history to the Confederacy in terms of waging war against the US, and they appear on Georgia official state instruments, please let me know and I will gladly and loudly condemn them as well. God help me, that is my last comment on this thread, because as someone else said, this is a complete waste of time.
Darren Wheeler February 24, 2014 at 11:55 PM
Wayne, censor the U.S. flag, then, because it flew on slave ships (which a Confederate flag never did) and it represented the government who protected the practice of slavery. And, yes, the reality of the war is even more vivid when you consider that the Confederacy, indeed, was a legitimate nation and, indeed, it was AT WAR with the United States. That is EXACTLY what happened. I'd say I'm stunned that people don't realize that. But knowing how our history is taught (or not taught) I am not at all surprised. The Confederacy had its own constitution, its own president and vice-president, its own postal service with its own stamps, its own currency. Yes, it was a separate nation fighting the United States. BUT!! The only reason it fought against the U.S. is because Lincoln ordered troops to invade the Southern states, otherwise there would have been no war. There could have, instead, been peaceful relations. Slavery would have ended its own death because it was well on its way already. How can one glorify the CSA and call themselves a patriotic American? Because the war and the events surrounding it were 150 years ago. The results of the war were and are just as they are. There is no changing it. The better question is, how can one not grasp that a person can honor their CSA ancestry and heritage and also be a loyal and patriotic American some 150 years later? What is so hard to understand about that?
Ann Hudren February 27, 2014 at 02:25 PM
Still discussing History that you cannot change? A week has passed and the vast majority have moved onto to more prominent issues. History.

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