WAVING THE FLAG: Robert Freeeman and John Bowers were among those opposing the end of Confederate flag day.

It should be no surprise that the legislature ends on a worthy note:

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Defense of the Confederate flag.

A Senate committee today killed HB 1916 by Rep. Austin McCollum to end Confederate Flag Day and instead call it Arkansas Days.

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Confederate Flag Day was established in 1957, a direct response to the desegregation of Central High School. The flag, then and now, is a symbol of slavery, racism and traitors.

The Arkansas flag itself bears a star representing the Confederate states, added during the Lost Cause re-telling of the warm in the early 20th Century, which made cartoonish heroes of cruel slave masters and traitors like Robert E. Lee. A bill to change the flag was withdrawn quietly by its sponsor today.

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11 people signed it to oppose the bill, none to support it. You’ve heard many of them before, such famous Rebs as Joey McCutchen and Loy Mauch, the former state representative who thinks Abraham Lincoln was a traitor. Many ancestors were cited and the “war for Southern independence.” Also the “purging of history.” Never mind the monuments honoring the war to preserve slavery the witnesses had to walk past to testify. Or the bill passed this session to preserve ALL Civil War monuments. One witness disputed that the establishment of the day in 1957 was racially motivated (never mind the photos of mobs waving the flag in protest of Black children entering Central High.)

The Saturday before Easter remains Confederate flag day, as it has since the year a governor of Arkansas sent in state troops to prevent Black Americans from attending an Arkansas high school. Show your appreciation of the act today as your conscience dictates.

Sen. Bob Ballinger acknowledged the day probably was motivated by racism and said he’d vote for the bill.  Sen. Jason Rapert delivered a lecture on how African people were also responsible for slavery and he’d seen a boat in Ghana with a Confederate flag painted on the side. He wished people would stop fighting the war.

The roll call vote was 4-3 Hester, Davis, Ballinger and Tucker versus Bledsoe, English and Garner. Rapert didn’t vote. He could have passed the bill, but did not.

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