Before South Carolina, Augusta Removed Confederate Flag From Public Property

Confederate Flag Debate graphic
Confederate Flag Debate graphic

Augusta, GA – The Jeffers, from Waycross, Georgia were visiting the Augusta Riverwalk and checking out the historical markers.

There was an Augusta city flag on a pole inscribed “Confederate States Banner”.

“I’m a history buff. I love it, I love history,” said Keith Jeffers. “That did not look like a Confederate banner?” we asked. “No, it didn’t,” he said.

The banner that has a battle flag as part of the design was removed from Riverwalk 11 years ago by then-Mayor Bob Young. It was a decision that was controversial.

“Well, it was, George, and I was flagged and there we some folks who came to the [Augusta] Commission meetings and made some noise about it,” said Young.

The flag was removed before the South Carolina NAACP meeting at the nearby Augusta Convention Center, but Young said it wasn’t removed because of that gathering. “I had some discussions with folks in the hospitality industry and the business community. Commissioners reached a consensus to take it down,” Young said.

Young made the decision to remove the flag on his own, not putting it before Commissioners for a vote. “I didn’t want to put the Commission through the position of having a debate and a vote on whether the flag came down or stayed up. I just thought it was the right thing to do,” said Young.

Young got took down Augusta’s Confederate flag on Riverwalk and says to South Carolina governor Nikki Haley…actions speak louder than words. “I wouldn’t have worried about a news conference with a bunch of people there. All the media time I get, I would have walked across the plaza if I really felt the flag should come down. I would have taken it down,” said Young.

Southern heritage groups sued the city for removing the flag after it was removed, saying it violated state law. In July of 2006, the court ruled in Augusta’s favor.

Monday evening, U.S. Senator indsey Graham (R-South Carolina) issued a statement on the South Carolina Senates 37-3 vote to removed the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds:

“The overwhelming bipartisan vote by the South Carolina State Senate was the right and necessary thing to do for the future of our state.  The Senate’s decision will allow us to go forward as a state more united and with the realization that all of us must come together after the horrific tragedy in Charleston. The next step is for the South Carolina House of Representatives to act, and I believe they will act in a similarly responsible manner.”

 

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