You're a Not So Grand Flag

Black homestead residents want to ban Confederate flags from city events

Miami may technically be “The South,” but you’ll be hard-pressed to hear anyone utter the word “fixin” in everyday conversation. Or displaying a Confederate flag.

Homestead, however, is a different matter.

Down in the “country” part of Miami-Dade County, the controversial Civil War symbol is causing a ruckus, and the NAACP, along with black Homestead residents, wants to ban it from city-sanctioned festivities.

“That flag is flown to strike fear in people, and it’s no different than a swastika being displayed in front of Jews,’’ Brad Brown, vice president of the Miami-Dade NAACP, told the South Florida Times.

Black residents were outraged in November when organizers of the Homestead/Florida City Chamber of Commerce parade allowed Confederate army organizations to participate in and display Confederate flags in Veterans Day ceremonies.

Jerome Williams, who is chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and happens to be black, said the organization’s Military Affairs Committee made the decision to have the Sons of Confederate Veterans in the parade.

 “We at the chamber do not organize the parade,” Williams said. It was their decision, and the committee does not answer to us.”

However, Williams did say he was aware of the controversies surrounding the flag, and he questions why they are only now being raised.

“I think the Confederate soldiers have always been in the parade. I’ve seen them there,” he said. “So, why is it an issue this time? I understand the debate, but I’ve done my own research and realize there were many black people in the Confederacy.”

Richard W. Lee, a deputy division commander in the Sons of Confederate Veterans, agrees: “My feeling is that the NAACP is opposed to anything that is not in their best interest and they are denying the descendants of black Confederate veterans the opportunity to honor their ancestors. I am very happy to see that the board has not folded to pressure from outsiders.”

Rosemary Fuller, who is the chairman of the city’s Human Relations Board, said that while the city might not organize the event, it is a member of the chamber, approves the parade’s standards, provides in-kind and logistical support, and issues permits for the parade.

“For them to march directly in front of the mayor and city council members who were smiling and waving is an insult,” Fuller said. “The city provides different types of support for the parade, and the elected officials ride in the floats, and we don’t think it’s right for the city to embrace the centuries of oppression and violence the flag represents.”


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