Confederate Flag controversy on the First Coast
300 people gather for Confederate flag rally
MIDDLEBURG, Fla. — Over 300 cars adorned with the Confederate Flag made their way through Clay County Saturday.
People at the rally said they’re bringing awareness to ‘Southern Pride.’
Meanwhile, the massacre at a Charleston, S.C. church in June sparked a nationwide debate over the flag and led South Carolina to stop flying it, on the Statehouse grounds.
Several supporters said Saturday’s rally was about showing off their Southern heritage. They were also spectators who said the rally was unacceptable and that they wanted to leave town because of it.
“I’m just trying to save our flag,” Michael Prevatt, a supporter of the rally, said. “That’s our heritage.”
Prevatt’s family helped organize the rally at Prevatt’s Bar in MIddleburg. Supporters reiterated that the flag represents their Southern roots.
“If you are white, black, Cuban, Mexican – whatever; if you live in the South, the Confederate flag is your flag,” James Shillenglew said, another supporter of the rally.
“If they take this flag away, they could take away anything,” Prevatt said.
The organizer of the rally was adamant that the flag is not a pro-slavery symbol, but others disagree.
“To me, these flags are representing hatred,” Heather Parker said. “Something that should have been in a museum. Something that shouldn’t be hanging high in any town, in any part of this country.”
Parker’s children are biracial, and she said she’s glad she left them at home so they didn’t have to see the rally.
“This is not a town I want my children being raised in,” Parker said. “This to me – it’s sad.”
“I knew they were coming here, but they said the evening,” Randall Parker said. “So I thought I would get up and get my stuff done early. But they’re here.”
“When people hear this, I am sure they’ll say she needs to move,” Heather Parker said. “Well, you are right. I do.”
While the rally was controversial, organizers said they were happy with the turnout.