Thursday, City Council members in the former Confederate capital, Danville, Virginia, voted (7-2) to limit which flags could be flown on city-owned property. They decided the only flags that could be flown on city owned flagpoles were the U.S., Virginia, city of Danville and the POW/MIA flags. This was their roundabout way of removing the Confederate flag from the Sutherlin Mansion, the residence where the Confederate government operated for eight days in 1865.
Changes regarding the public opinion of Confederate flag removal
The removal of the flag had come up to a vote before, in October of last year. It was rejected then – partially because the Council claimed it didn’t have the legal authority, and partially because of the political environment (the recent ignition of controversy surrounding the Confederate flag hadn’t yet erupted). This time, it was removed within hours of the late night vote.
The debate over the Confederate flag was reignited when Dylann Roof, a white man who was accused of fatally shooting nine black people at a church on June 17 of this year, appeared in photos holding it. This controversy lead to the Confederate flag being removed from the South Carolina state capitol grounds.
According to a Pew Research poll released Wednesday, nearly nine-in-ten Americans (89%) say they have heard or read “a lot” (64%) or “a little” (25%) about the controversy. According to the same poll, a majority of Americans approved the removal of the Confederate flag.
Danville’s protests, threats against a Council Member, and vows to “fight back”
That doesn’t mean there isn’t strong, vocal opposition to Confederate flag removals, and Danville was no exception. Before the vote, nearly 300 Confederate flag supporters showed up for a rally, including former congressman,Virgil Goode, who gave an impassioned speech:
“They say if you do not agree with our view on causes, symbols, and flags, you’re racist bigots and full of intolerant phobia. I say no,” said Goode. “The ‘P.C.ers won’t be happy until they’ve moved it inside, then in the closet, then in the basement, and finally to the Danville landfill.”
Some of these peace-loving heritage supporters also sent threats to a City Council Member regarding his family. However, it only seemed to spur on the City Council, as seen in the video below:
Although the flag has now come down, protests,
threats of lawsuits,
Featured image via Pixabay