WHEN “HERITAGE” MEANS HATE

Confederate flag

Confederate flags and statues abound in 2017 America. Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists defend them as an innocent representation of their “American Heritage,” but we know that these symbols glorify treason and a hateful history of white supremacy and black subjugation. In order for our country to move forward – to become a nation united and free from inequity and bigotry – we must remove Confederate symbols from the parks, schools, streets, counties, and military bases that define America’s landscape and culture.

Symbols of the Confederacy in 21st Century America

The Southern Poverty Law Center released in April 2016 a comprehensive report on the more than 1,500 public symbols Politico mapped some of their most shocking findings:

Confederate Symbols across the U.S.

Confederate symbols in the form of statues, flags, schools, streets, license plates, parks, holidays, and military bases are ubiquitous in the South but appear across the United States.

map_hate_01(Map source: Politico; data source: SPLC)

 

Confederate Symbols in Virginia

Virginia, the birthplace of Robert E. Lee and the home of Charlottesville, contains the highest density of Confederate symbols: more than 220.

map_hate_02(Map source: Politico; data source: SPLC)

Monuments and Statues

The United States contains more than 700 statues and monuments dedicated to the Confederacy. Virginia and Georgia house more than a quarter of these 700, and Texas, South Carolina, and Mississippi collectively contain almost a third. The majority were constructed before 1950, but four percent were built or rededicated in the 21st century.

Schools

109 public schools are named after Confederate figures, such as Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. Of these 109 schools, nearly 25% have a student body that is primarily black, and nearly 10% have a student body that is 90% black.

As the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, many Southern colleges and universities have recently made moves to remove Confederate statues and monuments that dot their campuses.

The NAACP on Confederate Symbols

Since the release of Birth of a Nation in 1915, the NAACP has been fighting against symbols that glorify the Confederacy and its “defenders.” The NAACP launched a campaign to ban the film racist, propagandistic film and protested President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to screen it at the White House.

In more recent years, the NAACP held an economic boycott of South Carolina for refusing to take the Confederate flag off of state capitol grounds. The fifteen-year boycott came to a close in 2015 when the state legislature finally voted to remove the flag once and for all.

And, on August 20, 2017, Interim President & CEO Derrick Johnson spoke out condemning Confederate imagery as a symbol of hate that should not be venerated.

Local NAACP Efforts to Remove Confederate Symbols

Charleston, South Carolina: “The Charleston branch of the NAACP on Tuesday joined the National Action Network’s call for the removal of the John C. Calhoun statue from Marion Square.” Live 5 News

Chattanooga, Tennessee: “A Tennessee chapter of the NAACP is urging officials to remove a statue of a Confederate general from in front of a county courthouse.” U.S. News

Lee County, Florida: “The images from the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended in upheaval and death Saturday led James Muwakkil to a Robert E. Lee statue in Fort Myers. Muwakkil, the president of the NAACP in Lee County, placed an American flag at the statue on Monroe Street.” News Press

Lexington, Kentucky: “The Lexington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has stated it supports the removal of two Confederate monuments in Lexington, one day after Mayor Jim Gray said he is taking steps to remove the statues from the former Fayette County Courthouse on Main Street.” Kentucky.com

Louisville, Kentucky: “Kentucky’s NAACP chapter is renewing efforts to remove a statue of Jefferson Davis from the state capitol rotunda after a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.” WKMS

Pitt County, North Carolina:  “Pitt County NAACP President Calvin Henderson says, “It can happen because there is a statute on the Pitt County Courthouse and there’s no doubt this could trigger off action all over the country.” WITN

Sussex County, Delaware: “A local NAACP branch on Wednesday afternoon called for the halting of the state’s Grant-In-Aid money earmarked for the Georgetown Historical Society.” WDEL

Ready to take action?

Visit naacp.org/campaigns/unite-us and join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram by following us @NAACP and using the hashtag, #uniteUS.