A former mayor of Macon, Georgia, is calling for Confederate monuments to be removed from the Middle Georgia city.
Former Macon Mayor Jack Ellis is just one of many current or former public officials to publicly call for monuments to be removed. Southern states are grappling with what, if any, action to take about flags, monuments and license plates.
“The flag is a symbol of the years gone by. But it’s an abrasive symbol,” WMAZ-TV quoted Ellis as saying. “The flag was used and taken into battle to fight against this country. The flag was used as a treason to destroy our country and it has no standing.”
Ellis’ call comes amid a national debate about the Confederate battle flag that started in the wake of a white gunman killing nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. There are thousands of Confederate monuments nationwide, particularly in the south, and the Confederate flag or derivatives of the banner still fly in a number of Southern states.
Some of the recent news about the flag in recent weeks:
- In South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley and state leaders last week called for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia. However, the flag cannot be removed without approval from the state legislature
- In Alabama, Gov. Robert Bentley last week ordered Confederate flags be removed from a memorial at the state capitol, USA Today reported.
- Activists on Saturday climbed the flagpole and removed the Confederate battle flag that was flying at the South Carolina state house. It was subsequently restored.
- In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal said the state would redesign the Sons of Confederate Veterans specialty license plate, WXIA-TV reported. The state has stopped offering the plates, pending the redesign, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
- In Mississippi, the only state that uses the Confederate battle flag as part of its state flag, state Speaker of the House Philip Gunn said it is time to discuss a change of the state’s flag.
“Mississippi is the sole state with an actual depiction of the confederate battle flag in its state flag,” U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, said in a news release. “This flag is not just some piece of cloth that bears no importance; it is the physical manifestation of a time of hate, oppression and slavery that split this country at its seams. It also serves as a barrier around the entire State of Mississippi telling everyone else in this country that progress is not welcomed here.”