Defenders of Confederate Symbols Mount a Counterattack

Cameron McWhirter, Wall Street Journal, January 1, 2016

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.

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Opposition to tossing all things Confederate into history’s dust bin now is growing. Heritage supporters are lobbying legislators, and their lawyers are preparing lawsuits, in efforts to restore or maintain Confederate monuments.

“We’re seeing a resurgence, a counterbalance” from people who wish to honor the region’s Confederate heritage, said Mr. Adams, whose heritage group opposes the removals.

Confederate heritage groups say that membership and donations are up; and Confederate flags unfurled on trucks or waving in front of homes remain a common sight across much of the rural South.

Dewey Barber, owner of Confederate flag retailer Dixie Outfitters, in Odum, Ga., said sales have “overwhelmed” his company last summer and fall. Many flags are out of stock as suppliers rush to fill orders, he said. “It’s off the charts.”

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