Confederate flag still contentious, as states weigh emblem on license plates

16 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Confederate flag still contentious, as states weigh emblem on license plates.

Three Southern states – Maryland, Virginia, and Texas – have moved to ban the sale of “specialty” license plates emblazoned with the Confederate flag, as the South as a whole continues to grapple both with its controversial past identities and possibility for the future. The bans follow a June US Supreme Court ruling that Confederate-flag plates are a form of government speech, and as a result can be rejected by states that choose to do so. It has not place in any contemporary government use.” Frosh said that Maryland tried to recall the specialty tags in the 1990s, but a federal judge at the time ruled that the license plates were protected under the First Amendment.

— Roughly 9 in 10 drivers with Virginia’s Confederate battle flag license plates have refused so far to send their plates back to the state as part of a program to swap out a symbol that many consider racist. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles mailed new plates without the emblem in early September to 1,600 members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who pay an annual $10 premium for the specialty plates but so far has received only 163 back. Governor Terry McAuliffe called for the change this summer after a man pictured posing with the flag was accused of killing 9 African-Americans in a South Carolina church. Collier has missed the deadline to change plates and said he doesn’t plan to. “Next thing you know, they’re going to say you can’t wear blue on Monday…or you can’t wear yellow on Thursday.

And officials in Virginia, where Richmond was once the Confederacy’s capital, decided to cancel the battle-flag plates, sending those who have the plates a new version without the design and a postage-paid envelope so they could return old tags for recycling. And his four brothers all died with him in the name of that flag,” Kevin Collier, a man from Suffolk, Virginia, told local Virginia news outlet 13NewsNow. Before the Supreme Court decision, nine states — Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Maryland, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee — had specialty plates with some sort of Confederate emblem. Others see it as an homage to the Jim Crow era after the war when blacks were subjugated and Southern state legislatures inserted the symbol in state flags to show their defiance in wake of civil-rights advances for African Americans. According to a Winthrop Poll released Wednesday, a little over half of white South Carolina residents supported the removal of the flag, while 93 percent of blacks believed that it was the right thing to do.

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