Confederate Flag Display Scars County Employees in Los Angeles
by Kenneth Miller
Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel
Originally posted 8/12/2009
LOS ANGELES (NNPA) – Enclosed in the treasured glass display case at the Los Angeles County Hall of Records downtown is an ugly reminder of the wicked sins that African-Americans endured during slavery.
Millions of people have entered in and out of the doors of the building that contains the department of probation and the treasure and tax collections departments among others for the County.
However, it is a rather small, but prominently placed Confederate Flag poached above the American flags and adjacent to the Constitution of The United States in the historical display case that has many of its Black employees fuming.
”That flag symbolizes lynching and racism and should be removed,” urged treasure Michael O. Armstrong.
Armstrong is not alone in his disgust of the placement of a flag that is the proud symbol of the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy.
Supervising Deputy Public Administrator Harold Winston called the display shameful and says that he has asked for it to be removed from the display case, which also is a reflection of other historical American flags.
”It is hurtful and shameful and reminds me of the way my ancestors were treated and has no place in a public building,” added Winston.
When each of the employees were asked if their names could be used for this story, they emphatically said yes, although a fear of repercussion from their superiors is a possibility at the building where roughly 20 percent of the employees are Black.
They said the one person who can remove it, the building manager, told them that he could not find a key for the case and by another high ranking superior that if it did not affect their work they should not worry about it.
Others who are employees who are in support of the flag removal would not allow for their names or comments to be used for this article.
The Hall of records building was built in 1963 at precisely the moment when the Civil Rights movement was talking full flight.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was marching against oppressors in the south as it was being erected.
The Confederate battle flag, called the ”Southern Cross” or the cross of St. Andrew, has been described variously as a proud emblem of Southern heritage and as a shameful reminder of slavery and segregation.
In the past, several Southern states flew the Confederate battle flag along with the U.S. and state flags over their statehouses. Others incorporated the controversial symbol into the design of their state flags.
The Confederate battle flag has also been appropriated by the Ku Klux Klan and other racist hate groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 500 extremist groups use the Southern Cross as one of their symbols.
Armstrong contends that the flag display was donated to the county by a group that cannot be located.
When left to no other recourse to voice their strong opinion they turned to The Voice of The Community – The Black – and are now speaking for themselves.