Dylann Roof’s terrorist attack on members of the Emanuel AME Church brought attention to the racist history of the Confederate flag. Roof used it as a symbol of hate, but some Southerners believe the flag represents heritage.
South Carolina lawmakers are currently debating the fate of the flag, which continues to fly at the capital. The flag is protected by the state’s Heritage Act which states the flag “may not be removed or relocated.” But there is overwhelming support to have the flag permanently removed.
Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart have pulled the Confederate flag from their shelves. Here are five things you should know about the Confederate flag.
It’s actually the Confederate battle flag
The current Confederate flag was created during the Civil War and used as the battle flag. Since the first Confederate flag resembled the original U.S. flag, Southern generals began to use a flag that showed complete separation from the union.
The use of the modern Confederate flag didn’t occur until nearly a century after the Civil War
In 1956, Georgia began to use the Confederate battle flag as the official state flag. After the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the state wanted to make a point. So in an effort to show support for segregation, the state adopted the Confederate battle flag, which stood until 2001. However, the new state flag resembles the first Confederate flag, which was prior to the Civil War. Other Southern states also adopted the flag following desegregation.
South Carolina made the Confederate battle flag official in 1961
The state passed the Heritage Act in 2000, which stated that a two-thirds majority vote from the legislature was the only way the flag could be taken down.
White racists embrace the Confederate flag
Those who attempt to defend the flag often point to the flag’s heritage. However, they have also allowed the flag to be a common symbol for White racist organizations such as the KKK and the Dixiecrat Party.
There are nine states where the Confederate battle flag can be printed on a license plate
Racists in Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Virginia can show their support by getting a license plate with the Confederate battle flag.