Pride vs. Pain: The Emotions of the Confederate Flag
by Fraendy Clervaud
COLUMBIA (WACH) — Donte Mackay is talking about South Carolina's controversial confederate flag.
You see Mackey says he's a direct descendant of someone who fought during the Civil War.
He's so proud of his heritage that he's been taking part in civil war reenactments over the past few years.
He says his ancestry is documented in this book written by his cousin entitled James Island stories from slave descendants.
But even though Mackey says the flag honors his forefathers others say there's nothing honorable about this flag.
“It's more about respect than anything else,” says Lonnie Randolph, President, SC NAACP.
Lonnie Randolph is the president of the South Carolina NAACP.
He’s been calling for the removal of the flag for years now.
“Of course the fight was over what, over slavery the buying selling, raping, killing and mistreatment of one group of people, people of color,” says Randolph.
He says the flag brings to light a dark past.
He says it became a symbol after the Civil War that kept African-Americans oppressed.
However one historical document gives reasons why South Carolina wanted to break away from the Union.
It was all about having pride in South Carolina and defending the states constitutional right.
This was expressed in a document adopted by South Carolina State Secession Convention back in 1860.
“The flag has different emotions for different people and it was widely used in segregation movements in the 1950s,” says Patrick McCawley SC Department of Archives and History.
Just last fall senator Vincent Sheneen said it was time to retire the flag from the capitol grounds.
So how did the flag fly at the State House— in the first place?
“In 1938 when John D. Long of Union County requested the house to fly the flag behind the speakers desk,” says McCawley.
This ultimately held to a conversation about flying the flag at the capitol.
It was a move to honor a week long commemoration of the beginning of the Civil War.
Than in 1962 a resolution was passed allowing for the flag to be flown on top of the state house
Years later groups were calling to put the flag down.
“It became a little bit controversial in the 1990s with a push by the NAACP,” says McCawley.
The account of the uproar over the flag is detailed in this book "The Confederate Battle Flag" by John Coski.
Coski is a historian for The American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia.
Over the years there were protests and rallies from both those for and against the flag.
Finally in 2000 what some would call a compromise.
Then Governor Jim Hodges signed a bill removing the flag from the top of the State House.
It was then placed beside the confederate monument.
And it’s been waving there ever since.
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