Blacks protest Georgia governor’s call for vote on bringing back old state flag – National Report

Blacks protest Georgia governor’s call for vote on bringing back old state flag – National Report – Brief Article

Georgia’s new Republican governor recently proposed a referendum for next year on whether to bring back the old state flag with its large Confederate emblem, a move that threatens to strain race relations in the state. Supporters of the emblem say it represents Southern heritage, while Blacks and others say it represents racism and slavery.

Gov. Sonny Perdue pledged during his campaign to give voters a say on the flag design, which was changed by the Georgia legislature in 2001 to feature a gold state seal and a smaller Confederate emblem (JET, Feb. 19, 2001). Perdue said he wants the nonbinding vote to be held the same day as the state’s presidential primary in March 2004. The state NAACP immediately threatened an economic boycott of Georgia if the the former flag with the large Confederate emblem is reinstated.

Under Perdue’s plan, voters would be asked two ballot questions, the first a yes-no question on whether to keep the current flag. The second would ask if voters wish to revert to the previous state flag with its Confederate emblem, or to the flag that flew until 1956 and did not bear the Confederate symbol.

NAACP leaders urged lawmakers to block the referendum, saying they’re certain the Confederate version would win. “If it were up to the majority of people in the state of Georgia, slavery would still be legal, and lynching would still be the law of the land,” said the Rev. Charles White Jr., director of the NAACP’s Southeast region.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Johnson Publishing Co.

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