Group looking to ban Confederate flag in public places

Group looking to ban Confederate flag in public places

SOUTHEASTERN, NC (WECT) - Members of the Wilmington/ New Hanover County Chapter of the North Carolina Black Leadership Caucus are working to ban the Confederate flag in New Hanover County.

For months they have been discussing plans to push local leaders to enact legislation that would ban the Confederate flag.

"It should be banned on a national level, it has no significance, it has no pride other than representing racism and they say the rise of the south, what are you trying to rise to," questioned NC Black Leadership Caucus' Sonya Patrick. "Because if the Confederates would have won, slavery would have been legal all over the United States and if that's the message you want to send Black America, we're listening."

Members said it is a symbol of racism and a reminder of how the south was built on the blood, sweat and tears of slaves. She also says the flag brings about separation.

The Confederate flag ban is an initiative group members have been working on for months. They've started a Facebook page called "Ban the Confederate Flag" to educate people on the flag's history.

Defenders of the flag like Robert Maffitt, however, say the flag has nothing to do with slavery.

"The flag is a meaning of the Southern States," Maffitt said. "The flag is the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia or we some people know, General Robert E. Lee's Army."

Either way, people who oppose the flag say it stands for racism.

However, Maffitt contends the flag never represented white supremacy or racism. He said though some use it as a symbol of hate, the flag will never represent that.

"We are Southerners, it doesn't matter if you're Black, White, Mexican, if you're born here, you're a southerner. It stands for heritage. We're southern people," Maffitt continued.

This debate is ongoing nationwide.

South Carolina's Governor said following the tragedy in Charleston, it's time to move the confederate flag from the Capitol grounds there.

The calls for the flag's removal are coming after the shooting deaths of nine people in a historic African-American church. Some said the same spirit that killed the nine people is the same hateful spirit behind the Confederate flag.

The flag has flown in front of the South Carolina state Capitol for 15 years.

Governor Nikki Haley said removing it from the capitol grounds may sadden some in the state, but the time has come to take it down.

Maffitt said he does agree that flag shouldn't be on a state building.

Patrick says the NC Black Leadership Caucus plans to work with county leaders to possibly BAN the Confederate flag in New Hanover County.

Copyright 2015 WECT. All rights reserved.