Two North Carolina Towns Cancel Christmas Parades After Plan to Fly Confederate Flag Sparks Protests
Associated Press and Ariel Zilber, Daily Mail, December 6, 2019
A second North Carolina town has canceled its Christmas parade after plans to fly a Confederate flag sparked protests.
Leaders in Wake Forest had said last week that the town’s parade would go on and include the Sons & Daughters of the Confederacy group, who were planning to fly the controversial flag, despite a planned demonstration.
But the town’s decision to hold the parade changed once police learned that the number of expected protesters had grown from 10 to 200 people outraged over the use of the flag which is often seen as a symbol of slavery, racism and white supremacy. It has been popular among white supremacists in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Sons & Daughters of the Confederacy are an organization made up of people who say they are descendants of soldiers who fought in the Confederacy during the American Civil War.
On its Facebook page, the group calls itself a ‘historical, patriotic, and non-political organization dedicated to ensuring that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved.’
‘For over two decades, the Sons & Daughters of the Confederacy has participated peacefully and without incident in the parade,’ the town said in a statement on its Facebook page last week.
‘The group’s entry traditionally features participants in period costumes and a banner that includes an image of the Confederate flag.
‘Make no mistake about it – the Town of Wake Forest is extremely sensitive to the emotion the confederate flag stirs among those on both sides of this issue.
‘We recognize that for some the flag represents racism, hatred and bigotry, while others see it as a representation of Southern heritage protected as a matter of freedom of speech/freedom of expression.’
The entire parade has now been canceled for safety reasons. This would have been the 72nd year of the parade, news outlets reported.
‘We aren’t happy telling kids they can’t attend or participate in this year’s parade – but it’s better than trying to explain to a parent whose child was injured despite so many warning signs,’ the chief said.
The town of Garner also canceled its Christmas parade this year over fears that a float sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans would be ‘targeted for disruption.’
North Carolina officials were worried about one particular organization, Move Silent Sam.
The group was named after a campaign to remove a statue of a Confederate soldier from the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
On Thursday, the group organized a demonstration that numbered some 200 students and faculty on campus.
They were protesting a decision by the UNC administration to give $2.5million to the NC Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The group would receive the statue of the Confederate soldier as well as money to build a facility that would preserve it.
In August of last year, protesters on campus toppled the statue, which was displayed on the Chapel Hill campus.