Mama’s Boy disputes Confederate flag next door

April 20, 2012

Local restaurant Mama’s Boy is a hot-spot for many University students, but the huge Confederate flag that flies a few feet away from the restaurant has made it a hot topic.

Mama’s Boy has been dealing with this dilemma for the last six years. When the owners of the restaurant acquired the lot of land on which to build, they knew there was a little space right next door that belonged to someone else, but had no idea that the owner would fly a large Confederate flag right next to the restaurant for the entire month of April every year.

To the owners of the restaurant, it is more than just a flag.

“It’s just a symbol of hatred to me and to most everyone else who sees it,” said Cooper Currin, the co-owner of Mama’s Boy. “That flag evokes strong anger, and it’s not a part of the South we need to commemorate.”

Owners of Mama’s Boy have posted signs in front of the restaurant that read “Not Our Flag” to try to combat the issue. They have even gone so far as to post updates on their Facebook page about it, but it still has not yielded the results they would like.

Currin receives three to four phone calls a day for the first few weeks that the flag is up and continues to speak with irate people by phone and through email for the rest of the month.

“All you can do is say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and move on with business,” she said.

After speaking with people who object to the flag, they often suggest the owners of Mama’s Boy change their official website to reflect their views on the issue.  To Currin, though, that is just another distraction from focusing on her business.

“It’s something that I just don’t want to have to deal with,” Currin said.

She said to customers, the owner of the flag has no image.

“People obviously want to be heard, but this guy is faceless and nameless to them,” she said.

She has even gone so far as to start handing out his phone number to people who have an issue with the flag.

Warren Blackmon, the owner of the flag, could not see it more differently.

Blackmon, who jokingly refers to himself as “The Whitest Blackmon in Town,” has been flying his flag in that spot since before Mama’s Boy was built and doesn’t plan to take it down.

“I’ve been flying a flag in that lot for 10 years,” Blackmon said. “Southerners should honor their heritage.”

Blackmon said he flies the Confederate battle flag every April to commemorate Confederate History Month.

Confederate History Month is recognized by six state governments, including Georgia, to recognize the history of the Confederate States of America.

“It doesn’t represent bigotry or racism, and I’m definitely not trying to stir anything up,” Blackmon said. “Just because I fly a Confederate flag doesn’t mean I’m in the KKK.”

Mama’s Boy has offered to buy the lot for $2,000, according to Blackmon, but until they pay his price of $140,000, the flag will stay.

For the 10 years Blackmon has been flying the flag, though, he has had problems with people who oppose it.

“I’ve had 37 flags stolen,” Blackmon said. “All of the people who stole them should be arrested.”

Blackmon also disagrees with owners of Mama’s Boy that having the flag nearby may deter customers.

“If anything, I think it helps them,” Blackmon said.  “It’s really easy to find when people say, ‘It’s right by the big flag.’”

Donnell Francis, a University senior from Lilburn, regularly eats at Mama’s Boy.  As an African-American student, he says that he is not bothered by the flag.

“It wouldn’t deter me from eating there,” Francis said. “I would just be curious as to why it was flying out front.”

Copyright © 2012 The Red and Black Publishing Company Inc.

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