Posted on November 29, 2018

Rebel Flag on Civil Rights Hero’s Grave Gets Widow’s Pardon

Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press, November 28, 2018

The 93-year-old widow of a slain civil rights activist in Mississippi said Wednesday that she forgives the person who draped a Confederate battle flag over her husband’s gravesite.

Ellie Dahmer (DAY’-mur) said her family was told that the black woman who left the flag Tuesday did it as a protest to teach a grandchild about the state’s history, and the bad things the flag represents.

“We were told that she was telling her grandson about that flag — about how much hate was in that Confederate flag,” Dahmer told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Vernon Dahmer is buried in south Mississippi’s Jones County. {snip}

The flag was left on his grave the same day Mississippi voters were deciding a U.S. Senate runoff in which the state’s history of racist violence became a central theme.

Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge said his office received a call Tuesday morning that a flag and a red noose made of rope or yarn had been left on Vernon Dahmer’s grave. He said investigators found that the items were left by a black woman. Hodge would not release the woman’s identity, saying “she’s a mental patient.” He would not elaborate on her condition.


Ellie Dahmer told AP that she thinks the woman made “an honest mistake.”


The battle flag also appears on the upper left corner of the state flag that Mississippi has used since 1894. Voters chose to keep the state flag in a 2001 election, but all of Mississippi’s public universities and several cities and counties have stopped flying it in recent years. {snip}