More battles loom over Confederate battle flag
(CNN) — The Confederate battle flag no longer flies outside the South Carolina State House, but the controversy is hardly over.
Images of the flag and other Confederate symbols can be found throughout the United States, especially in the Southeast. With the victory by anti-flag forces in South Carolina, complaints about its display in other places may well multiply.
Here’s a sampling of upcoming battlefields over the Confederate battle flag and other symbols.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, has called for the state to stop issuing specialty plates with Confederate battle flags. He based his decision on a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling denying the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans specialty tags with their logo.
But the Virginia chapter of the SCV says it will fight McAuliffe’s plan.
In North Carolina, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory also is calling for the an end to SCV tags. “That’s clearly the flag that has been hijacked by people that are misusing that symbolism to set the wrong tone for our nation and for North Carolina,” he told CNN affiliate WRAL.
But there’s a difference of opinion about how to make that happen, reported WRAL. The governor says the Legislature will have to rewrite state law, but the state Senate leader says the governor could simply order it to happen.
Mississippi state flag
The state flag has the Confederate insignia in the left corner. It needs to go, says state House Speaker Philip Gunn. Miss Mississippi agrees and so do the state’s U.S. senators, both Republicans.
But some state legislators are saying not so fast. In a 2001 referendum, Mississippi voted to keep the Confederate symbol on the flag — a fact several legislators cited when contacted by the state’s leading newspaper, the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson.
“At the end of the day, it’s an issue voters have decided,” state Rep. John Moore told the newspaper. “If it was a close vote, it might be worth looking at. But it was a substantial vote, better than two to one.”
Protests are planned in Marion County, Florida, over the Confederate flag that came down — and then went back up.
After the shootings in Charleston, county administrators took down the flag that had flown outside the administration building in Ocala for two decades, according to CNN affiliate WFTV.
But residents complained, partly because the county commission didn’t make the decision. On Tuesday the commission voted to put the flag back up.
A protest against the flag was scheduled for Saturday. A “Florida Southern Pride Ride” in support of the flag will take place Sunday, the Ocala Star-Banner reported.
A fight over the Confederate flag even popped up in Congress when Republicans proposed a spending bill that had language allowing the flag in federally run cemeteries.
The Republicans ended up yanking the bill after emotional debate, including Rep. John Lewis denouncing the GOP while standing next to a picture of the policeman who beat him at the Selma march, in which the officer wears a helmet with the Confederate flag emblem on it.
House Speaker John Boehner quickly called for a bipartisan group of members to work on a plan to address the issue, but Democrats ignored him. Given the partisan friction in Congress, this fight could break out again.
At Vestavia Hills High School, outside of Birmingham, Alabama, parents and students complained that the Rebel Man mascot has a racist connotation, according to CNN affiliate WHNT.
But the mascot has supporters, including the first black student to wear the rebel costume at football games. Calvin Wright wrote a column for the website Al.com, saying he was proud to be a Vestavia grad and that “Taking away the mascot isn’t going to solve the sole issue that is at hand with the world — racism!”
But another former mascot who is white told Al.com that Rebel Man should be dropped because it’s “a symbol that stands for racism and oppression for so many people.”
So far local officials haven’t made a decision.
One of the most famous Confederate-themed mascots was Colonel Reb, who represented University of Mississippi athletic teams. He was replaced in 2010 with the Rebel Black Bear.