WAFF Investigates: The Confederate Flag - Where does it stop? - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

  • What is your opinion of the Confederate flag?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Symbol of Confederate pride
    88%
    275 votes
    Racist symbol
    9%
    29 votes
    No opinion
    3%
    8 votes

WAFF Investigates: The Confederate Flag - Where does it stop?

A group displays the Confederate flag last week in Huntsville. (Source: WAFF Staff) A group displays the Confederate flag last week in Huntsville. (Source: WAFF Staff)
(WAFF) -

The confederate battle flag is no longer flying at the Alabama State Capitol. Businesses are banning it from store shelves and cities including Birmingham are removing Confederate monuments from public places.

Since we broke these stories we have been overwhelmed with some common question: What's next and where does it end?

Southern heritage and pride. That's why this group of young men told WAFF they spent last Friday flying Confederate battle flags at the corner of Airport Road and Whitesburg Drive in Huntsville.

"If people want to say that we're racist for flying a flag, well that is their problem,” said Clayton Tucker.

And while the group garnered a lot of support, not everyone was on board.

Read More: CNN polls shows majority of people see Confederate flag as Southern pride symbol

One man confronted the group while our camera rolled. We didn't get a chance to ask him his name, but he didn't hold back on how he felt.

"They're not standing for anything noble or anything progressive,” he said. “They're holding onto an old racist, oppressive ideal."

The divide over the Confederate battle flag and what it represents has only gotten deeper since Governor Robert Bentley ordered the flag removed from the
Confederate Memorial at the Alabama State Capitol eight days ago. 

"I think what I did today was symbolic. I became the first governor to remove the Confederate flag,” Bently told us hours after it was taken down.
“Other governors have called for it in Virginia and South Carolina. They didn't do it. I did it."

"We live today in the United States of offended. Everyone is offended by something," said Tom Strain.

Strain is a local leader of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. He told us the Governor's decision shocked him. But what has him and others like him
more concerned is what is viewed as a march towards the complete removal of anything associated with the Confederacy and the battle flag.

“We're hoping that at some point they're going to open their eyes and realize that this has really snowballed way out of control,” said Strain. “Changing
street names, changing names on buildings, removing monuments. It's absolutely preposterous."

Preposterous to Strain but exactly in line with what Reverend Robert Shanklin believes needs to happen.

"Wherever I see it at I'm going to demand it be removed," said Shanklin.

Shanklin is the president of the Huntsville-Madison County NAACP. He just happened to be driving by last Friday's demonstration and told us he couldn't believe his eyes.

"The flag means hatred,” said Shanklin. “It means racism."

Neither side is backing down.

"We have to get rid of it before we can go any farther,” said Shanklin

"I'm making my stand,” added train. “I'm drawing my line in the sand here."

So how does this play out? Could we see really see the battle flag and Confederate symbols wiped away? We brought that question to political analyst Dr. Waymon Burke.

Read More: TV Land pulls 'Dukes of Hazzard' amidst Confederate flag controversy

"I don't know where it will end. I don't know if anyone knows where it will end,” said Burke.

One side says it stops now. Tthe other won't stop until all symbols are gone. Tradition versus tolerance. The one thing that is indisputable is the battle is far from over.

"We're going to have to come together as one, black and white, whoever, and go to the authority and demand that stuff be removed,” said Shanklin. “Now. Not later, but now."

"It's time for people in Alabama to wake up and realize this is our history. There's good and bad in history,” said Strain. “We have to decide where do we go from here."

A growing number of businesses and organizations, including all NASCAR tracks, are asking fans not to display the flag. On Wednesday, Birmingham leaders voted to remove a Confederate monument from a public park.

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