Group’s Ga. license plate features Confederate battle flag

Feb 19, 2014

ATLANTA — A license plate available for Georgians with the Confederate battle flag in the background is drawing some complaints from civil rights leaders.

The design from the Sons of Confederate Veterans features the group’s logo prominently up front as the Confederate battle flag covers the background. It also has the words "Sons of Confederate Veterans" where the county name is usually placed on the plates.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference President Charles Steele called the plate a slap in the face to African-Americans who were dehumanized under the Confederacy.

"That’s when we were lynched, taken away from our families. That’s when our women were raped. Do you want to promote that? No," said Steele.

State Rep. Tommy Benton of Jefferson, a life member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, points out their specialty place has been around for several years.

"We’ve had that tag for at least 15 years. It’s just a new design just like all the other tags have been redesigned," Benton said.

The new design does have a larger version of the battle flag as background, but Benton insists his organization is only promoting history.

"I don’t think it’s supporting slavery at all," Benton said. "We are honoring our ancestors, who a lot of them gave everything they had for what they believed in."

There are currently no bills in the legislature to change the Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate, but one lawmaker involved in that process says if someone tries that, they might have to change all of Georgia’s specialty plates.

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