Florida County Votes To Remove Confederate Flag, Replaces It With Another Confederate Flag

| by Alexander Rubinstein

Walton County, Florida, the only Florida county flying a flag symbolizing the Confederacy, voted Tuesday to remove the Confederate battle flag from the county courthouse grounds. In its place, the county will use a different Confederate flag.

The new flag approved was to be the first national flag of the confederacy; the “stars and bars” with 13 stars, reports NWF Daily News..

But Walton County had to purchase the flag first. They found one on Ebay for $19.95 plus tax, but the Los Angeles vendor can’t get it to the county for two to three weeks, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

“We waited 15 minutes on hold and they told us that because of high demand from South Carolina they were out of stock and did not know when they would be getting any,” Louis Svehla, a Walton County spokesman, said.

In the interim, a rebel flag with seven stars will fly on the courthouse grounds.

Commissioners Sara Comander and Cindy Meadows offered the “Stars and Bars” flag as a compromise.

Local activists who had petitioned and advocated throughout the previous month for the removal of the flag were not satisfied. Daniel Uhlfelder, a key advocate in the local movement to remove the Confederate battle flag, said, “It’ perplexing how this is perceived as any compromise.”

Uhlfelder had been working with community leaders and organizations such as the NAACP to get the flag removed since 2002.

In 1963, Alabama Governor George Wallace first raised the battle flag in protest of the Civil Rights Act which prohibited segregation, reported The Huffington Post. It was installed on the Walton County courthouse in protest of the Civil Rights Act in April 1964, according to Change, a website for petitions.

While the “Stars and Bars” has no association with segregation, it was the original national flag of the Confederacy. In South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas, official declarations of secession cited threats to slavery as a reason to secede and create the new nation, reported The Huffington Post.

“They replaced a symbol of segregation with a symbol of slavery and secession,” Uhlfeler said.

 Uhlfelder noted that research by Florida State University psychologist Joyce Ehrlinger suggests that seeing the Confederate flag increases racial prejudice, reports The Huffington Post.

“When you go into a courthouse, you shouldn’t have your prejudice amplified,” he said.

Sources: NWF Daily NewsThe Huffington Post (2), Tampa Bay TimesChange

Photo Credit: John Jackson / Flickr