Bringing Down the Symbols of Sovereignty 

In 1987, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Southeast Regional office approved a “Resolution requesting removal of the Confederate battle flags from state capitol buildings in Alabama and South Carolina and from state flags in Georgia and Mississippi.” The resolution ignited a widely-reported, decades-long battle over those four symbols and other Confederate flags that state and local governments displayed on public property.

Mississippians voted to retain the flag by a 2-1 margin in a 2001 referendum. In 2004, Georgians voted for a new flag (the 1956 flag was not among the choices) that resembled the Confederate “Stars and Bars.”

Woman and Confederate flag
A South Carolina woman held up one side of a large Confederate flag during a 1996 pro-flag rally at the South Carolina State House.
Photograph by Peggy Peattie

Proposed alternative
Two African-American men held a proposal for an “anti-flag flag” at the South Carolina state capitol, 2000.
Photograph by Eric App

Flag Removed
South Carolina removed the battle flag from the capitol dome and transferred it to the Confederate Soldiers memorial on the capitol grounds in July 2000.
Photograph by Eric App.