Local News

Confederate Flag License Plate Issue Moving Through Courts

Posted Updated
Switch to classic wral.com
The Sons of Confederate Veterans wants license plates with a Confederate flag emblem.
FAYETTEVILLE — The Confederate flag. To some itrepresentspart of our national heritage. To others, it is an offensive symbol ofracism and slavery. It has been the center of much controversy. Now theflag could be a part of some state license plates.

But not if some state leaders have their way.

Under North Carolina law, a nationally recognized civic group can getspecialty tags for its members here. The Sons of Confederate Veteransorganization wants to do just that but some are questioning whether theorganizationisa nationally recognized civic group.

It is a question that is now working its way up through the courtsystem.

The state Division of Motor Vehicles had planned to accept a judge'sruling that it issue special license plates with an emblem depicting theConfederate battle flag, but NC Attorney General MikeEasley says he will appeal, arguing that the Sons of Confederate Veteransdoesn't qualify for a specialty tag.

Carl Barrington of Fayetteville is proud that his great-grandfatherfought for the Confederacy. Captain Adam Barrington was captured duringthe battle of Fort Fisher and imprisoned for several months until theCivil War ended. Barrington says he's unhappy with the government'sinterference.

Barrington says he should be allowed to display his pride in hisancestor and history.

But the flag raises emotions among some African-Americans. RonnieGraham of Fayetteville says he thinks the issuance of such license plateswill cause trouble.

Veronica Davis says she is open to the rights of others to have theplates.

During the appeals process courts will focus on legal issues -- not the emotional ones. If the specialty tag in question survives thecourt challenge, it will only be available to members of the organization.In order to be a member, you have to prove that an ancestor fought withthe Confederacy.

Photographer:Mike Joyner

1 / 5

Copyright 2022 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.