Confederate flags expected to fly in Texas Fourth of July parades

AUSTIN — The Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said their groups will march in Independence Day parades across the state, carrying the Confederate battle flag.

“They most definitely will be seeing the Confederate flag in parades this weekend,” said Marshall Davis, president of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Texas Division. “We don’t plan to make any changes. We still want to honor our heroes and our heritage in the same way as we have for years.”

Davis said the Confederate flag symbolizes heritage and honor and it is a large part of their organization’s flag display.

“Our contemporary, regimental and divisional flags that we have feature different sections of the Confederate flag,” Davis said. “We have every intention of it still being flown at the Fourth of July and in the future.”

In June, the Confederate flag was the center of a nationwide debate, after a Charleston man shot and killed nine people in a historic African-American church.

“It’s unfortunate that it takes a mass murder to get this country to look at the fact that the flag is a symbol of racism,” said Nelson Linder, chapter president of NAACP Austin. “It’s a symbol of racism, it’s a symbol of oppression, and it’s a symbol of civil war. It is a divisive, threatening, hostile symbol.”

Linder said it is time for Texas to remove the divisive flag altogether and start the discussion about the issue for what it stands for.

“You don’t change this country and this state by taking a flag down, that’s only a public emblem,” Linder said. “The real issue is are you going to address racism, legacy, the current challenges, and they haven’t done that.”

In a nationwide poll released Wednesday, CNN found 57 percent of Americans see the Confederate flag as a southern pride symbol, rather than a symbol of racism.

“I do not see it as a racist symbol. We condemn the fact that different hate groups have misappropriated our sacred symbols to use for their own agenda,” Davis added. “That is not our agenda at all.”

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