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Southern highway will remove newly erected Confederate flag

by Ezekiel J. Walker
Southern highway will remove newly erected Confederate flag
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A 120-foot flagpole flying a 30-by-50-foot Confederate flag along heavily traveled Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County is in violation of the land use ordinance and as of Friday, county officials have ordered it to be taken down.

The Civil-War-losing rebel flag was raised last Saturday by members of in the Adam Washington Ballenger Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 68 on a parcel they own near I-85, Business 85 and U.S. 221. An estimated 80,400 vehicles on I-85 pass by the flag every day.

“It sends an unwelcoming message to a large group of people,” said Monier Abusaft, Spartanburg County councilman. “In a county like ours, it does not have a place.”

A Confederate flag has been raised over I-85 at Exit 77 in Spartanburg County. This is a photo of the flag taken on Oct. 28, 2022.

GoUpState reports County spokeswoman Scottie Kay Blackwell said the landowner was cited last week and has 20 days to remove the flagpole.

“According to our 1999 land use ordinance, flags and flagpoles are considered an accessory activity and can only be located on a parcel which has a principal activity, such as a residence or business,” she said.

“Because this property does not have a residence, business or other principal activity, the owner has violated our ordinance. The owner was notified of this violation last week and has 20 days to either remove the flagpole or obtain a permit for a principal use of the property.”

Rev. Eddie Parks, president of the NAACP West Spartanburg, says, “For many groups, especially African-Americans, the Confederate flag symbolizes hate, racism, exclusion, oppression and violence,” Parks said in a Facebook post in response to the flag along I-85. “Its symbolism and history are directly linked to millions of African Americans’ enslavement, torture and death.”

Though the loser flag has been banned by the Country Music Awards, NASCAR, and Virginia’s 135-acre Hollywood Cemetery, in the rural South it flies in the shadows for those holding onto a heritage of hate.

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