After a year in which flags came down across the South, opposition to the changes is growing
Not since at least the civil-rights movement have Americans challenged the South’s Confederate symbols as fervently as they did in 2015.
The June massacre of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., by a believed white supremacist “opened the floodgates,” said John W. Adams, spokesman for the Florida Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Since then, officials in South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Florida and elsewhere removed or took steps to dismantle flags and other symbols from the region’s secessionist past.
In June, South Carolina’s Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, flanked by other political leaders in her state, called for removal of a Confederate battle flag flying in front of the state Capitol. “A hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War the time has come,” she said to loud applause. The flag came down July 10.
Alabama’s Republican Gov. Robert Bentley also ordered Confederate flags taken down at that state’s Capitol, and the University of Texas at Austin removed a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the campus’s South Mall.
Because of demographic shifts, many Southerners have altered attitudes toward once-sacrosanct tributes to the Confederacy. The 11 states that made up the former Confederacy grew to a total population of over 102 million in 2014, from 84.2 million in 2000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, a 21% increase, compared with a 13% overall U.S. growth rate. Southern states’ ethnic and racial composition has evolved significantly, with black, Hispanic and Asian minorities growing.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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