SOUTH CAROLINA: Confederate Flag Controversy at Small Town Parade

The controversy over Confederate symbols in the South has made its way into a small town’s Christmas parade.

A Southern heritage group called The Carolina Flaggers will be allowed to flaunt the Confederate flag in the annual Christmas parade in Summerville, South Carolina, organizers there said.

“We are aware that there are people who are unhappy with this decision and want to assure them that it was not made lightly,” said Michael Lisle, executive director of Summerville DREAM, which organizes the Summerville Christmas Parade. “We believe we have treated this group in a manner consistent with how we have traditionally treated other groups applying for space in the Christmas parade, while observing the parade’s mission to celebrate the history and diversity of our town.”gty-jc-171201_12x5_992

The group’s application to participate in the Dec. 10 parade was approved after being “carefully vetted,” according to Lisle.

“We are also aware that, subsequent to its approval to participate, the group has suggested that they will hand out flags along the parade route. We want to make clear that such activity will not be allowed,” he added. “As with all participants, their entry will be visually vetted on the parade date to ensure that it remains in compliance.”

A spokesperson for The Carolina Flaggers could not be reached for comment Friday.

The group’s Facebook page, which has 489 likes and 499 followers, describes itself as “a South Carolina-based Southern heritage community with the goal of reminding the people of South Carolina of our proud heritage.” The group’s Facebook feed features several shared posts from the South Carolina Secessionist Party, which has organized Confederate flag rallies in Summerville and nearby Charleston.

Symbols of the Confederacy caused controversy in the town’s parade last year, when “several attendees” complained about an entry that included “replica weapons and multiple representations of the Confederate flag.” The controversy led organizers to have “a number of productive conversations” with Summerville community activist Louis Smith, according to Lisle.

“The end result of these conversations was that Summerville DREAM would ask 2017 applicants representing Southern heritage organizations to eliminate replica weapons and display no more than two Confederate flags on their entries,” Lisle said.

Smith, the founder of the Summerville Community Resource Center, did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment Friday.

The parade’s mission is to “promote positivity throughout the town of Summerville while capturing the spirit of the Christmas holiday for all to enjoy,” according to Summerville DREAM’s website.

“The parade aims to bring the community together as a whole to celebrate the season while representing the local history and traditions,” the website says. “We welcome a diversity of ideas while addressing the parade theme.”

Confederate symbols, from flags to monuments, have become a flashpoint across the country. Government officials, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have called for the removal of statues, historical markers and other monuments from public grounds that commemorate controversial Civil War era figures and memorialize the Confederate cause.



ALABAMA: Spanish Fort Mayor Speaks Out on Flag

SPANISH FORT, Ala. – The use of the confederate flag continues to be a divisive issue across the south.  Spanish Fort is the latest city to receive criticism.

The Baldwin County NAACP wants a confederate flag flying above city hall to come down.  Mayor McMillan says that flag will come down, but another flag is going up.

They Mayor McMillan tells News 5 it’s a combination of six flags that represent the history of Spanish Fort.  All six of those flags will be on one new city flag, which will include a confederate flag.

The Mayor also says the city has been planning this new flag for about a year now.  It’s set to replace what he says is the third flag of the confederacy.

Flag on the left is to be replaced by the new flag.

It has been hanging at city hall since the city was formed in 1993; however, some local citizens want it down now because they say it’s offensive and represents hate.

Mayor McMillan says, “It’s a part of history that we have a Spanish Fort. We’re different from a lot of cities.  We actually had a major battle here. one of the last battles of the Civil War.  We have streets named after union and confederate soldiers.”

“Our people have been put in chains, been handcuffed, been beaten. We just don’t want to keep being reminded of that. We want to move forward and leave that behind us” says President of Baldwin County NAACP Alec Barnett.

The city will be holding a public meeting in December to unveil the design of the new city flag.