Dixie Display Creates Dismay
- Dixie display creates dismay
By KIMBERLY LONG
The Fulton Sun
Above is a Confederate flag attached to a 1964 Honda on top of the
Progressive Bike Works business, located at 1303 S. Business 54.
(Fulton Sun/Colin E. Suchland photo)
More than a century after the end of the Civil War, the Confederate
flag still provokes controversy when flown.
Last Thursday, the owner of Progressive Bike Works, located at 1303
Business 54 South, mounted a Confederate flag atop his business.
The flag has since evoked disapproving responses from local black
residents, plus rekindled a similar incident at the Callaway County
Two local residents - both male, and both black - contacted The
Fulton Sun last Saturday, stating they were offended by the flag.
They also said they wondered why the owner would display something
On Tuesday, the flag still was flying.
Bike shop owner Harley Bruce defended his right to display it,
stating as a Georgia native the flag is "a symbol of my heritage."
Local black community leaders, however, entertain a different
Fulton NAACP president Jack McBride said the star-studded bars
symbolize "oppression, hatred, revolting barbarity and shame."
"The history of the flag is related to cross burnings and other hate-
related actions that are symbolic of hate groups and citizens who
seek to terrorize, intimidate and incite violence," McBride said
McBride also recalled a similar incident where a fraternity group
from Westminster College replaced the American flag at the Callaway
County Courthouse with a Confederate Flag, and how a former county
judge backed the movement by reading a proclamation honoring the
In that instance, McBride said the flag was removed the day
following the ceremony, after he responded with letters to the
college, Callaway County Commissioners and to the editor of the then
Kingdom Daily Sun Gazette, which printed McBride's reply in its May
8, 1984, edition.
His letter prompted an apology from the Westminster fraternity and
administration, but not from the county court officials - which made
him feel that the officials were insensitive to the feelings brought
about by the flag's presence.
"The Confederate flag is a symbol of the worst hypocrisy that ever
existed in America," McBride noted. "And this is something that the
NAACP would hope would not be a part of Fulton and Callaway County."
Bruce said he "is not a racist by any means," and that the flag is
his connection to the South.
Originally, there were two flags flying from Bruce's business - the
Confederate Flag and an American Flag, which he said was tattered by
recent inclement weather.
"I didn't do this as a racist remark," Bruce said, standing outside
his shop. Reiterating his stance, Bruce added, "My next door
business owner is an African American ... hell my dog is even black."
The neighboring business, 54 Auto Sales, is owned by Fulton resident
Lewis C. Moore, who when asked stated his dislike for the display.
Discovering Moore's feelings, Bruce said, "if people are offended by
it in this community, I will take it down."
Apparently, Bruce is not the only Fulton resident that views the
flag as non-offensive.
Fulton resident Richard Hopkins, a black man and clerk at a downtown
black-owned business, views Bruce's actions as "a cry from the
"We all know that the South lost the war, so if he wants to hang on
to the legacy of those who helped fight the war, then so be it."
To deny Bruce that right, would be repeating history, Hopkins said.
"I lived in Georgia for two years and talked with several people
about this very issue. These people aren't racists, you can feel
their emotions when you talk to them. Because the South lost, we
can't erase history, even though history already has a tendency to
erase the history of the losers."
And on a humorous note, Hopkins added: "And anyone who grew up with
the Dukes of Hazzard like I did can't tell me that they were
insulted by the General Lee."
Another incident - two or three weeks ago - involving the flying of
yet another Confederate Flag, demanded the intervention of Fulton
According to Police Chief Steve Myers, a couple living at 215 West
Ninth Street - an area heavily populated with black residents - were
asked to remove their Confederate flag, which was suspended beneath
an American flag. The couple complied.
The flags caught the attention of McBride, who the same day reported
the incident to Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers. Myers in turn sent
officers to the residence and suggested to the occupants that
removing the flag would keep peace in the neighborhood.
When approached Tuesday by The Fulton Sun, the couple - Robert and
Pamela Shannon - became angered at the publicity the matter has
attracted, and chose not to speak with the press.
"As citizens they have the right to hang the flag, it's just not
using very good judgment," Myers said.
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