Posted by 13 August 2018
A group in Virginia has been installing Confederate flags around the state, prompting a backlash from some residents. In this debate, issues of history, racism, zoning, and commemorating the past all come together.
The Virginia Flaggers have existed since 2011 with the mission of putting up Confederate battle flags near heavily-traveled roads. They were formed in response to efforts at the local level to remove or alter monuments commemorating the Confederacy. In addition to erecting flags, they have also protested at sites where local governments have debated Confederate monuments or the display of Confederate flags.
In March, the group placed a flag near I-64 in Louisa County. Recently county’s Board of Zoning Appeals decided that the flagpole that this flag was placed on violated zoning rules by being too high. The Virginia Flaggers argued that this was a monument, and thus exempt from height requirement. The board did not accept this argument and ordered the flagpole lowered or removed.
Those supporting the placement of Confederate flags across the state say that they are reacting to efforts that would cleanse the state of its Confederate history. They say that there is nothing wrong with remembering the Confederacy and memorializing the men who died fighting for it. Those opposed to the proliferation of Confederate flags say that this group is celebrating a treasonous government that fought to preserve slavery.
There has been an ongoing debate in the Virginia General Assembly over legislation that would allow local governments to remove Confederate monuments.
Do you think that flying the Confederate flag honors Virginia’s history as part of the Confederacy? Or does flying of the Confederate flag celebrate racism?