Confederate Flag Sales Rise

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The only U.S. manufacturer still making Confederate flags says she has seen a significant increase in sales of the product since the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Belinda Kennedy, who owns Alabama Flag & Banner, began manufacturing the flag in 2015, when major retailers dropped it following the shooting of nine African Americans at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white supremacist, AL.com reported.

"After the church shooting [in 2015] Amazon and Walmart stopped selling [the flag] and people were afraid they wouldn't be able to buy it," said Kennedy. "And then you started seeing streets renamed, schools being renamed, mountains being renamed. And then people started getting angry."

Kennedy stated she typically sells between 600 and 800 Confederate flags per year. However, in a 24-hour period soon after the violence by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, the company received 100 orders.

"Everybody's got a different reason [for buying]," added Kennedy. "By and large, I think people are afraid they may not be able to get it one day."

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Kennedy's great-great-grandfather fought on the side of the Confederacy, and she is a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy.

She said Confederate flag does not stand for white supremacism and should not be associated with neo-Nazis.

"I think there is a bigger racial divide in our country than what we've had in many years," she added. "I think a lot of it is because we're trying to sanitize history. You've got white supremacists, but then you've got people like me who are history buffs, pushing back and saying, don't change history."

Kennedy's view is not shared by all. Since the violence in Charlottesville, which left one dead, calls have grown across the country for Confederate monuments and flags in public places to be removed or moved to museums.

In York County, South Carolina, supporters and opponents of the flag gathered on Aug. 24 to hear a ruling by a judge on whether the Confederate flag should be returned to the county courthouse.

"The flag will not bring peace and unity in our community," Dynique Roseboro, who opposed having the flag at the courthouse, told WSOC. "If they want to say its part of history, they should have a museum."

The judge in the case ruled that the petitioner, a resident of North Carolina, had no right to challenge the flag's removal because he does not reside in the state.

"Since the opening of the York County Historical Courthouse in January of this year, I was put into the position of making a decision that interests the citizens of York County as well as many people from all over the United States of America," the county clerk wrote in a statement following the ruling. "I have received hundreds of emails and countless telephone calls regarding the flags and portraits that were inside the courtroom prior to the renovation and have listened to these concerns."

Sources: AL.com, WSOC / Featured Image: Michael Rivera/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: J Stephen Conn/Flickr, Flatword/Wikimedia Commons

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