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.

J D C February 24, 2014 at 10:32 AM
Grumpy Old Man, I was answering NJ and I agree with you, thx.
Harry Ball February 24, 2014 at 12:29 PM
"There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs-partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs."-- Booker T Washington
Harry Ball February 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM
In America we have freedom of speech, thought, and expression but some seek to destroy that because you don't agree with them.
Harry Ball February 24, 2014 at 12:33 PM
If you were not allowed to say something because it offended someone than eventually you would be able to say NOTHING at all. If you don't like the plates don't buy them.
usmcboi February 24, 2014 at 12:42 PM
simple as it may seem reality dictates diffrent.
Andy Pat February 24, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Thomas Maynard-when you say "Jim Crow Laws were bad, just as bad as Affirmative Action Laws are today...." I have to assume you are NOT a black person who lived under Jim Crow laws in the South." Would this assumption be right? And if my assumption is right we thank you for a most unqualified opinion.
usmcboi February 24, 2014 at 12:44 PM
they will actually have the flag and the plates removed eventually and you wont be able to speak unless spoken too especially when you have a nation of such diverse cowards that wont stand up for themselves makes a laughing stock to the rest of the world. When they are quiet capable of removing power fine example Kiev.
Gregory Urbach February 24, 2014 at 12:47 PM
When your freedom of expression says slavery is okay, that lynchings don't matter, and that non-whites are sub-human, that black children don't belong in white schools, and that government can produce license plates to celebrate all that, then you should expect others to disagree with you. Freedom of expression goes both ways.
forREALNJ February 24, 2014 at 12:51 PM
@ Gregory, are you award that there where WHITE Irish slaves that where treated Worse then the black slaves, the only difference is IRISH people do not need to continue to be victims over a 100 years ago. IF you don't like the plate or do not support it DON'T buy it.
Gregory Urbach February 24, 2014 at 12:59 PM
For one, my Irish friends recall their ancestors' hardships all the time, so you clearly have no Irish friends. And Jim Crow was not a hundred years ago, and either was segregation. As for the license plates, like Jon said, you guys just can't grasp the difference between personal expression and government sponsored bigotry. Our public schools have really let you down.
Harry Ball February 24, 2014 at 01:07 PM
Irish slaves were cheaper to buy than black slaves so Irish were treated much worse. As for the Irish complaining about it all the time...that is B.S. The Irish never demanded reparations or protested non-stop. They never even received affirmative action.
Harry Ball February 24, 2014 at 01:09 PM
"Gregory Urbach February 24, 2014 at 12:47 PM When your freedom of expression says slavery is okay, that lynchings don't matter, and that non-whites are sub-human, that black children don't belong in white schools... " Show us where we said this Greg. Trying to put words in others mouths is a pretty pathetic tactic.
forREALNJ February 24, 2014 at 01:11 PM
Sweetie, Irish Grandparents Off the boat from Ireland, NEVER a victim, worked hard for everything they had NEVER took a hand out form anyone and PROUD to be American. ( even though they where extremely abused and dent with Racism often not to mention " Irish need not apply" ( was not all that long ago) Public school comment Not sure what what that was about. ? ITS ONLY what YOU THINK it is,( as far as the plate) Just because something is not what you agree with doesn't make it WRONG ... I'll pray for you at some point in your life you understand that.
forREALNJ February 24, 2014 at 01:13 PM
* Dealt
Harry Ball February 24, 2014 at 01:16 PM
Italians also suffered extreme discrimination when they arrived in the US. The Italians were also NEVER a victim, worked hard for everything they had NEVER took a hand out form anyone and PROUD to be American.
forREALNJ February 24, 2014 at 01:18 PM
Status Quo February 24, 2014 at 02:00 PM
Victimology, is best left to experts. I am pleased to see the cogency of 'Grumpy' displayed and the furthered response of "forREALNJ" as an organic end to the thread. Originally, I had alluded to the sensibility of GA to engage in this new composite plate but did not feel SVC is in arrears in ANY way. Both entities, exploited the hole in the donut and I say... that is that states right to allow or disallow the representation of the Stars and Bars in the background and I saw NO issue with SVC Badge displayed. Given previous falderal over GA Stars and Bars State License plate... was it prudent(GA) to attract undue attention again to the use of it, or the reporter making issue of it, SVC choosing to apply for the accommodation or victimologists seizing upon the innocuous aspects of the SVC? Most likely some GA board/bureaucrat or a smarmy Photoshop© artist is 'fit to blame.
Tara Raphael April 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM
The Dixie flag is a symbol of southern pride to many people, there just happens to be a negative stigma attached to that particular symbol. All in all, The principal is making an unnecessary example of these students.
FHVoice April 15, 2014 at 03:01 PM
Tara, "there just happens to be a negative stigma attached to that particular symbol"? Congratulations on stating the obvious. That flag represents a group of traitors who broke away with a firm intent on preserving slavery within its borders. The very constitution of the Confederacy left no doubt that preserving slavery was its core objective, no matter how much one tries to dress it up by ignoring historical truth, claiming it just represents "southern pride". Supporting it is as reprehensible as supporting the state printing swastikas because some Germans were descendents of NAZI's. Having a state which collects taxes from all print it on license plates, or anything else, is a travesty.
Thomas Maynard April 15, 2014 at 04:40 PM
I know .....let the majority of the people in Georgia decide what is to be done. I have had it with minority's getting their way in this Republic. Majority Rule....I got to put up with Black History Month.....you can put up with the Stars and Bars....nuff said!
J. W. MacMahon April 15, 2014 at 05:09 PM
The total discussion is STUPID. It is about a different time and conditions that were very different. Slavery was not just a southern institution. The LARGE majority of "slaves" came from the north, imported by the northen traders who brought them from Africa on their boats to MAKE PROFIT. The southern condition had virtually no trading boats. So who is at fault?? The sellers, or the buyers?? One cannot point at the south with impunity. It was a despicable premise in any consideration, but it existed.The argument is MOOT. ALL Americans have had unfavorable conditions in their past. THAT is what America is..A better place to be and live. So STOP the ridiculous finger pointing and rejoice that you ARE an AMERICAN!!! RxJiMac/Atlanta
FHVoice April 15, 2014 at 05:38 PM
"I have had it with minority's getting their way in this Republic. Majority Rule....I got to put up with Black History Month.....you can put up with the Stars and Bars....nuff said!" Thank you Thomas for clearly defining this "Stars and Bars" stuff as a racially driven sign of resentment towards "minorities". You just skewered that "Southern pride" argument. Your worship of the traitorous South is just a matter of revenge and expression of resentment that the South lost the war. If you want to have a "Sons fo the Traitors -er- Confederacy" group, go ahead. Just don't have that group be state sponsored.
FHVoice April 15, 2014 at 05:48 PM
J. W. MacMahon April 15, 2014 at 05:09 PM - Your lame attempt at creating a false equivalency is, well, lame. Yes, slave trading was a national disgrace from the beginning. However, it was in the South that it festered. It was the South that clung to it. And it was the South that turned traitor to the United States of America and created a constitution where the guaranteed continuance of slavery was key. It was the South that opened fire upon US forts. No, the Southern states that launched attacks on the rest of the country were in a subclass of their own. Continuing to honor the symbols of that disease merely traps the South in its illusions. In Germany it is illegal to fly Nazi flags. While there is no law against flying symbols of the traitorous South, it would be just good judgment to let them go the way of the dodo.
FHVoice April 15, 2014 at 05:58 PM
BTW, when looking back through the thread of earlier comments, clearly some folk never did learn the nature of American slavery. For anyone to try to equate the experience of the Irish with the reality of slavery is a testimony to that person's ignorance. The difficulties of fitting in were trying, but dang, equivalent to slavery? OHN! SMH
ed crowley April 15, 2014 at 06:05 PM
Fhvoice Should the State have a sponsored holiday for George Washington? He was a slave holder and a traitor.
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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