Hundreds of people with about as many confederate flags gathered in a delimited area in the park, which is one of the symbols of the so-called southern pride and tradition. The Stone Mountain Park exhibits carvings of famous Confederate figures from the Civil War, including president Jefferson Davis and famous generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, in what is supposed to a lesser-scale southern replica of Mount Rushmore.
However, the protesters mainly wanted to point out that exhibiting the confederate flag has no common ground whatsoever with racism, as many view it, but only with a sense of tradition and southern heritage. The protest went through without major incidents, although some counter-protester tried to provoke the mob by burning confederate flags outside of the area, while others peacefully held signs reminding of the link between the flag and slavery-ridden past.
The role of the confederate flag in modern America has come under scrutiny during the last month and a half, after a number of fatal shootings in the last times have been performed by perpetrators who previously exhibited themselves with the flag or who claimed a strong southern heritage. Ever since, the symbol has come under fire for its link with the country’s pro-slavery past – as the Confederate stood up in revolt over the imminent abolition of slavery, which was one of the South’s top income areas.
The spark that started the outburst was the June murder of nine black individuals in a church in Charleston by Dylann Roof, a 21-year old white supremacist who regularly posed with the flag while burning the national flag. Protesters present at the Stone Mountain Park tried to differentiate themselves from this by also hosting a large number of US flags between the confederate ones.
According to The Guardian, however, the outburst against the flag is having the opposite effect of the intended one in communities which value the idea of southern heritage. A souvenir shop in Abbeville, South Carolina has reportedly ran out of confederate flags to sell, while residents of areas which saw a lot of Civil War action are displaying it more than ever in an attempt to stand against political correctness; which should probably be expected when symbols which hold strong tradition and ignite passions such as the confederate flag become targeted.
Image Source: The Guardian