Posted on April 3, 2020

Confederate Flag Raised Outside Kentucky County Courthouse Sparks Debate

Billy Kobin, Louisville Courier Journal, April 2, 2020

A Confederate flag that was recently raised outside the Marshall County courthouse in Western Kentucky has prompted spirited debates on social media and among community members about the appropriateness of the symbol in a public setting.

Justin Lamb, a Marshall County commissioner, said in a Facebook post that he introduced the idea of flying the Confederate “Stars and Bars” flag outside of the courthouse in Benton to honor “the lives and service of our brave Marshall County ancestors.”

Kentucky was officially neutral during the Civil War, but Lamb said Marshall County “was firmly behind the Confederate cause of states’ rights.”


“The county sent two full companies to the Confederate army while many other Marshall County boys and men crossed the border and joined the Army of Tennessee,” Lamb wrote. “As a seventh generation Marshall Countian who had several ancestors who fought for the Confederacy, I’m proud to see this flag installed on the courthouse lawn in honor of our county’s rich heritage.”

Lamb told WPSD-TV he is a member of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter and that the group decided to fly the “Stars and Bars” flag to avoid the negativity associated with the “Battle Flag” and its common “Southern Cross” design.

According to Lamb, Marshall County Judge-Executive Kevin Neal approved the flag’s installation, citing the past presence of other monuments and flag poles on the courthouse lawn. A Civil War cannon sits near the flag outside the county’s fiscal court building.

It was not immediately clear whether the flag will remain up permanently. {snip}

Lamb told the West Kentucky Star that plans are underway to fly a Civil War-period Union flag right above the Confederate flag.

“That way both sides are represented, because we had Union soldiers in Marshall County just as much as we did Confederates. We want both sides to be represented,” Lamb said.


Several states, but not Kentucky, have banned the display of the Confederate flag on state property in recent years.


Raoul Cunningham, president of the NAACP Louisville Branch, told The Courier Journal in an emailed statement that with “all nations of the world combating” the spread of the coronavirus, “this a time we should all be standing together and not raising divisive issues such as the Confederate Flag on government property.”

And Waheedah Muhammad, chair of the Kentucky chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called for the Confederate flag to come down in Marshall County.


Lamb, in a separate Facebook post, said he appreciated Roy’s concerns but that “(e)rasing and ignoring history has become a dangerous tool of a politically correct revisionist element in our country today.”