The square Army of Northern Virginia battle flag under General Robert E. Lee, designed by William Porcher Miles. (The fringe is often omitted.)
A rectangular variant without fringe, common in modern reproductions. (A similar flag was used during the war by the Army of Tennessee under General Joseph E. Johnston.)

The display of flags used by and associated with the Confederate States of America (1861–1865) has continued into the present day, with the "Southern cross" used in the battle flag of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia gaining the most popular recognition as a modern symbol of the Confederacy, and by extension, the Southern United States in general. Such displays have been made for a variety of reasons, with Southern culture, states' rights, and historical commemoration among the stated reasons for particular uses. Displaying the flag has long been controversial, due to the flag's historical associations with racism, slavery, segregation, and white supremacy.[1][2][3]

Confederate national flags

Main article: Flags of the Confederate States of America

The Confederate States of America used three national flags during the American Civil War. The latter two flags used incorporated the "Southern cross" canton that was widely recognized as a symbol of the Confederacy by 1863.

The vernacular "Confederate flag"

1896 lithograph of the three Confederate national flags and the battle flag

Designed by William Porcher Miles, the chairman of the Flag and Seal Committee of the Confederate Provisional Congress, the flag now generally known as the "Confederate flag" was initially proposed, and rejected, as the national flag in 1861. The design was instead adopted as a battle flag by the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee.[4]

Most popular today is a rectangularized variant of the originally square ANV battle flag, common in modern reproductions. (A similarly rectangular flag was used during the war by the Army of Tennessee under General Joseph E. Johnston.[5][6]) Despite never having historically represented the Confederacy as a country nor officially recognized as one of the national flags, it is commonly referred to as "the Confederate Flag" and has become a widely recognized symbol of the American South.[7] It is also known as the "rebel flag", "Dixie flag", and "Southern cross" and is often incorrectly referred to as the "Stars and Bars".[8] (The actual "Stars and Bars" is the first national flag, which used an entirely different design.) The self-declared Confederate exclave of Town Line, New York, lacking a genuine Confederate flag, flew a version of this flag prior to its 1946 vote to ceremonially rejoin the Union.

Revival and controversy

It has been suggested that Lost Cause of the Confederacy#Twentieth and twenty-first century usage be merged into this section. (Discuss) Proposed since July 2015.

See also: Lost Cause of the Confederacy § Twentieth and twenty-first century usage; Allen Central High School § Mascot and flag scandals; and Lexington, Virginia § Flag controversy

After a post-war hiatus during the Reconstruction Era, the flag "become during the memorial period [the late 19th Century through the 1920s] the symbolic embodiment of the Lost Cause",[9] later acquiring more explicitly political meanings in the mid-20th century.

Unofficial military use

During World War II some U.S. military units with Southern nicknames, or made up largely of Southerners, made the flag their unofficial emblem. The USS Columbia flew a Confederate Navy Ensign as a battle flag throughout combat in the South Pacific in World War II. This was done in honor of Columbia, the ship's namesake and the capital city of South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union. Some soldiers carried Confederate flags into battle. After the Battle of Okinawa a Confederate flag was raised over Shuri Castle by a Marine from the self-styled "Rebel Company" (Company A of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines). It was visible for miles and was taken down after three days on the orders of General Simon B. Buckner, Jr. (son of Confederate general Simon Buckner, Sr.), who stated that it was inappropriate as "Americans from all over are involved in this battle". It was replaced with the regulation, 48-star flag of the United States.[10] By the end of World War II, the use of the Confederate flag in the military was rare.[11]

Political groups

The 1948 Dixiecrat political party extensively used Confederate symbols, including the battle flag, and contributed to the flag's post-World War II re-popularization.[12] According to historian John Coski, segregationists utilized Confederate symbols as both they and the Confederates had similar goals, that is, opposition to any "change the south's racial status quo." As a result, Coski stated that "There could be no more fitting opposition" to desegregation "than the Confederate battle flag. Although segregationists lost their battle and their cause was discredited, attitudes of white supremacy live on."[13]

In Georgia, the Confederate battle flag was reintroduced as an element of the state flag in 1956, just two years after the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. It was considered by many to be a protest against school desegregation.[14] It was also raised at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) during protests against integration of schools.[15]

Supporters of the flag's continued use claim it is a symbol of Southern ancestry and heritage as well as representing a distinct and independent cultural tradition of the Southern United States from the rest of the country. Some groups use the "southern cross" as one of the symbols associated with their organizations, including groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.[16] For other supporters, the flag represents only a past era of southern sovereignty.[17]

Historian John Coski noted that the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the "most visible, active, and effective defender of the flag", "carried forward into the twenty-first century, virtually unchanged, the Lost Cause historical interpretations and ideological vision formulated at the turn of the twentieth."[18] Coski wrote concerning "the flag wars of the late twentieth century":

From the ... early 1950s, SCV officials defended the integrity of the battle flag against trivialization and against those who insisted that its display was unpatriotic or racist. SCV spokesmen reiterated the consistent argument that the South fought a legitimate war for independence, not a war to defend slavery, and that the ascendant "Yankee" view of history falsely vilified the South and led people to misinterpret the battle flag.[19]

The allied United Daughters of the Confederacy and other historical societies also used the flag as part of their symbols.

From a very different political perspective, both the Southern Student Organizing Committee and the Young Patriots Organization (the latter among Southern migrants in Chicago), were 1960/70s New Left anti-racist movements that attempted to reappropriate the Confederate flag in their symbolism.

Religious groups

In 2016 the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution at their annual meeting calling for Southern Baptist churches to stop displaying the Confederate flag, as a "sign of solidarity of the whole Body of Christ."[20]

Recent public opinion

The Confederate flag is a controversial symbol for many Americans today. A 2011 Pew Research Center poll revealed that 30% of Americans have a "negative reaction" when "they see the Confederate flag displayed."[21] According to the same poll, 9% of Americans have a positive reaction. A majority (58%) have no reaction.

In an October 2013 YouGov poll, a plurality (38%) of those polled disapproved of displaying the flag in public places.[22] In the same poll, a plurality (44%) of those asked viewed the flag as a symbol of racism, with 24% viewing it as exclusively racist and 20% viewing it as both racist and symbolic of pride in the region.[22]

In a national survey in 2015 across all races, 57% of Americans had the opinion that the Confederate flag represented Southern pride rather than racism. A similar poll in 2000 had a nearly identical result of 59%. However, poll results from only the South yielded a completely different result. 75% of Southern whites described the flag as a symbol of pride, while 75% of Southern blacks said the flag represented racism.[23]

Historical and modern meaning

As a result of these varying perceptions, there have been a number of political controversies surrounding the use of the Confederate battle flag in Southern state flags, at sporting events, at Southern universities, and on public buildings.[24] In their study of Confederate symbols in the contemporary Southern United States, the Southern political scientists James Michael Martinez, William Donald Richardson, and Ron McNinch-Su wrote:

The battle flag was never adopted by the Confederate Congress, never flew over any state capitols during the Confederacy, and was never officially used by Confederate veterans' groups. The flag probably would have been relegated to Civil War museums if it had not been resurrected by the resurgent KKK and used by Southern Dixiecrats during the 1948 presidential election.[25]

Southern historian Gordon Rhea further wrote in 2011 that:

It is no accident that Confederate symbols have been the mainstay of white supremacist organizations, from the Ku Klux Klan to the skinheads. They did not appropriate the Confederate battle flag simply because it was pretty. They picked it because it was the flag of a nation dedicated to their ideals: 'that the negro is not equal to the white man'. The Confederate flag, we are told, represents heritage, not hate. But why should we celebrate a heritage grounded in hate, a heritage whose self-avowed reason for existence was the exploitation and debasement of a sizeable segment of its population?[26]

Symbols of the Confederacy remain a contentious issue across the United States and their civic placement has been debated vigorously in many southern U.S. state legislatures since the early 1990s, such as the effort that led to the replacement of Georgia's flag in 2001.[27] Supporters have labeled attempts to display the flag as an exercise of free speech in response to bans in some schools and universities, but have not always been successful in court[28] when attempting to use this justification.

Pacific Northwest

When researching his ethnography of whites, Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America, scholar Rich Benjamin kept a notepad while traveling the Pacific Northwest. "I remember driving through swaths of Washington and Oregon and seeing a lot of Confederate flags," Benjamin explained to journalist Matthew Novak. "There are a lot of refugees from the South who seem attracted to Oregon not because they're racists, but because Oregon has a racial homogeneity and a conservatism and a gun culture that they really appreciate." The Pacific Northwest offers a cultural collision between the confederate flag, other emblems of racism, and its new technological profit hubs.[29]

In film and television

The 1979–1985 American television series The Dukes of Hazzard, set in a fictional Georgia county, featured the General Lee stock car with the flag prominently painted over its roof throughout the series' run.

In the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, the flag can be seen at a US Army camp in Vietnam.

Use by musicians

The Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd made heavy use of the flag. They tried distancing themselves from it because of its racial connotations in 2012,[30] but then resumed using it that same year.[31]

Metal band Pantera sold numerous items in their official online store that featured the flag until July 2015.[32] Founding member Dimebag Darrell, who was shot and killed in 2004, used a Dean ML guitar customized with the flag covering the guitar's body. As of July 2015, singer Phil Anselmo distanced himself from usage of the flag.[33]

Official usage by southern U.S. states

In the years after the end of the American Civil War, many former slave states that were members of the Confederacy during the war adopted new state flags. Incorporating in their new flags' designs were motifs that were used in the Confederacy's flags, such as the St. Andrew's cross. In the case of Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama, these new state flags were adopted around the same time that new Jim Crow segregation laws were being enacted. These laws, combined with poll taxes, literacy tests, and extrajudicial violence such as lynchings, disenfranchised African American voters for the next several decades.[34] According to historian John M. Coski:

The flag changes in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida coincided with the passage of formal Jim Crow segregation laws throughout the South. Four years before Mississippi incorporated a Confederate battle flag into its state flag, its constitutional convention passed pioneering provisions to 'reform' politics by effectively disenfranchising most African Americans.

— John M. Coski, The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem (2005), pp. 80–81.[34]

State flags


Main article: Flag of Alabama

Flag of Alabama
Flag of Spain used in Alabama and Florida until the 1800s

Though state legislation described the flag of Alabama as being based on the design of St. Andrew's Cross,[35] it has been hypothesized that the crimson saltire of the flag was designed to resemble the blue saltire of the Confederate Battle Flag. The legislation that created the state flag did not specify if the flag was going to be square or rectangular.[36] The authors of a 1917 article in National Geographic expressed their opinion that because the Alabama flag was based on the Battle Flag, it should be square.[37] In 1987, the office of Alabama Attorney General Don Siegelman issued an opinion in which the Battle Flag derivation is repeated, but concluded that the proper shape is rectangular, as it had been depicted numerous times in official publications and reproductions.[38]

Another slim possibility is in the flag of Co. F 7th Regiment Alabama Cavalry. The regiment was the only Alabama regiment in Rucker's Brigade commanded by Col. Edmund Rucker of Tennessee, later Alabama, who became a prominent Montgomery businessman after the war. The flag of the brigade used a white background with a red saltire which did not always extend to the corners and charged with dark colored stars upon the saltire. The flag of Co. F, 7th Alabama Cavalry is currently held by the Alabama Department of Archives and History as part of its Alabama Civil War Period Flag Collection.[39] But, the flag carried by Co. F 7th Alabama was not an Alabama Flag, it was the flag made for Rucker's Brigade a month before the 7th joined his brigade; the 7th was color party only after September 24, 1864. A bunting flag that exists, in the white and red configuration with 13 blue stars, is not believed to be Alabama associated, but tied to Rucker's Brigade.


Main article: Flag of Florida

The current flag of Florida, adopted by popular referendum in 1900, with minor changes in 1985, contains the St. Andrew's Cross. It is believed that the Cross was added in memory of, and showing support for, the Confederacy.[40][41] The addition of the Cross was proposed by Governor Francis P. Fleming, a former Confederate soldier, who was strongly committed to racial segregation.


Main article: Flag of Georgia (U.S. state)

The current state flag of Georgia, adopted in 2003. It is based on the Confederacy's first national flag, the "Stars and Bars".

In 1956 the Georgian state flag was redesigned to incorporate the Confederate battle flag. Following protests over this aspect of the design in the 1990s by the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and other groups, efforts began in the Georgia General Assembly to remove the battle flag from the state flag's design. These efforts succeeded in January 2001 when Georgia Governor Roy Barnes introduced a design that, though continuing to depict the Battle Flag, greatly reduced its prominence.

The following year, amidst dwindling demands for the return of the 1956 design ("Battle Flag" version) and lesser opposing demands for the continued use of the new "Barnes'" design, the Georgia General Assembly redesigned the flag yet again; it adopted a "compromise" design using the 13-star First National Flag of the Confederacy (the "Stars and Bars"), combined with a simplified version of Georgia's state seal placed within the circle of 13 stars on the flag's canton.

Recent flags of Georgia


Main article: Flag of Mississippi

Flag of Mississippi

The Confederate battle flag became a part of the flag of Mississippi in 1894. In 1906 the flag statutes were omitted by error from the new legal code of the state, leaving Mississippi without an official flag. The omission was not discovered until 1993, when a lawsuit filed by the NAACP regarding the flag was being reviewed by the Supreme Court of Mississippi. In 2000 Governor Ronnie Musgrove issued an executive order making the flag official, which it did in February 2001. After continued controversy, the decision was turned over to citizens of the state, who, on April 17, 2001, voted 2:1 to keep the Confederate Battle Flag a part of the current state flag.[42]

Following the Charleston church shooting in June 2015 and subsequent discussion of the flying of the Confederate Battle Flag at the South Carolina State House, Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives Philip Gunn publicly called for the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the flag of Mississippi.[43]

State seals

See also: Six flags over Texas

The first Confederate flag, along with five other flags appears on the reverse of the Seal of Texas, it is also flown along with five other flags in Austin. Both are meant to describe the six countries that had sovereignty over Texas.

The Alabamian coat of arms features the Confederate battle flag's saltire in its design. Similar to Texas, the saltire on the coat of arms represents one of the five countries which have held sovereignty over part or all of Alabama.

The shield of the Confederacy is found in the Rotunda of the Florida Capitol, together with those of France, Spain, England, and the United States - all of them treated equally as "nations" that Florida was part of or governed by. The five flags "that have flown in Florida" are included on the official Senate seal, displayed prominently in the Senate chambers, on its stationery, and throughout the Capitol. On October 19, 2015, the Senate agreed to change the seal so as to remove the Confederate battle flag from it.[44]

Vehicle license plates

In Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, vehicle owners can request a state-issued license plate featuring the Sons of Confederate Veterans logo, which incorporates the square Confederate battle flag.[45]

In 1998, a North Carolina appellate court upheld the issuance of such license plates in the case Sons of Confederate v. DMV, noting: "We are aware of the sensitivity of many of our citizens to the display of the Confederate flag. Whether the display of the Confederate flag on state-issued license plates represents sound public policy is not an issue presented to this Court in this case. That is an issue for our General Assembly."[46]

In 2015, the dispute over Texas vanity plates that would have displayed the logo ended up before the United States Supreme Court.[47] In its decision in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, the court ruled that license plates are governmental speech, so the government may decide what to have printed on them. Texas's refusal to issue flag-emblazoned license plates therefore didn't violate petitioners' right to free speech.[48]

In 2015, Virginia recalled its vanity plates with the Confederate flag emblem pictured within the logo of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.[49] To holders of SCV plates, the state mailed replacements without the emblem. The old design with the emblem was invalidated and driving with such Virginia tags was made a misdemeanor similar to driving an unlicensed vehicle; though, in October 2015 a SCV legal team tried fighting the ban in court.[49]

Display at South Carolina State Capitol

The flag at the South Carolina Confederate Monument in Columbia, SC
The flag at the South Carolina Confederate Monument in Columbia, South Carolina
View of the South Carolina State House with the Confederate Monument in front
View of the South Carolina State House with the Confederate Monument in front

The Confederate battle flag was raised over the State House on April 11, 1961 at the request of Representative John May[citation needed], ostensibly as a part of opening celebrations of the Confederate War Centennial, according to Dr. Daniel Hollis, an appointed member of the centennial commission. Many historians point out that the appearance of the flag likely had a more nefarious purpose: to symbolize Southern defiance in the face of a burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. In March 1962, lawmakers passed a resolution directing the flag be flown over the State House.[50][51][52] As Time magazine later noted, the move was "a states’-rights rebuff to desegregation."[53]

On April 12, 2000, the South Carolina State Senate passed a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the top of the State House dome by a majority vote of 36 to 7.[54] "...[T]he new bill specified that a more traditional version of the battle flag would be flown in front of the Capitol next to a monument honoring fallen Confederate soldiers." The bill also passed the state's House of Representatives, but not without some difficulty. On May 18, 2000, after the bill was modified to ensure that the height of the flag's new pole would be 30 feet (9 m), it was passed by a majority of 66 to 43.[55] Governor Jim Hodges signed the bill into law five days later after it passed the state Senate. On July 1, 2000 the flag was removed from atop the State House by two students (one white and one black) from The Citadel; a more historically accurate Confederate battle flag was then raised on a 30-foot pole on the front lawn of the Capitol next to a slightly taller monument honoring Confederate soldiers[56] who died during the Civil War. State law prohibited the flag's removal from the State House grounds without additional legislation.

In 2005, two Western Carolina University researchers found that 74% of African-Americans polled favored removing the flag from the State House altogether.[57] The NAACP and other civil rights groups attacked the flag's continued presence at the state capitol. The NAACP maintained an official economic boycott of South Carolina for 15 years, citing the state's continued display of the battle flag, until the flag was eventually removed completely from the State House grounds.[58][59]

In 2000, the National Collegiate Athletic Association "announced that it will cancel future Association-sponsored events in South Carolina if that state doesn't take action to remove the Confederate battle flag from atop its state capitol." The association said that "many coaches and student-athletes feel that an inhospitable environment is created by the display of the Confederate flag over the South Carolina state house", and its chair said "there is no question that to a significant number of our constituents, the flag is a symbol of oppression." This has prevented South Carolina from hosting any championship sporting events in which the sites are determined in advance.[60] This NCAA ban on post-season championships in South Carolina has been strictly enforced, with the exception of HBCU Benedict College. In both 2007 and 2009, the school hosted the post-season Pioneer Bowl game, in violation of the NCAA ban, though no action was taken.[61] On April 14, 2007, Steve Spurrier, coach of the University of South Carolina football team, made an acceptance speech for a community service award in which he referred to the flag on the State House grounds as "that damn flag." This statement was also inspired by the actions of, as Spurrier said, "some clown" who waved the battle flag while being videotaped for SportsCenter.[62] On July 6, 2009, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced a decision to move three future baseball tournaments out of South Carolina citing miscommunications with the NAACP concerning the display of the Confederate flag in the state.[63]

The flag was removed in 2015 in the wake of the Charleston church shooting.

Washington National Cathedral

At the Washington National Cathedral, the Confederate battle flag is found in two stained glass windows, which memorialize the Confederate generals and heroes Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. On June 8, 2016, Miriam Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and the interim dean of the cathedral, said they would be removed "as soon as we can do it". They will be replaced, at least temporarily, by plain glass.[64]

The windows were installed in 1953, with support from the Daughters of the Confederacy. They were forgotton until they "were brought to our attention" after the Charleston church massacre of 2015.[65]

Reactions to 2015 Charleston church shooting

See also: Charleston church shooting

On June 18, the day after a deadly church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, perpetrated by Dylann Roof, a white supremacist, whose website,, contained pictures of him holding the Confederate Battle Flag. Many flags, including those at the South Carolina State House, were flown at half-staff. The Confederate battle flag flying over the South Carolina Confederate Monument[66] near the state house was not, as South Carolina law prohibits alteration of the flag without the consent of two-thirds of the state legislature.[67] The flagpole lacked a pulley system, and thus the flag could not be flown at half-staff, only removed.[67]

Flags flying over Fort Sumter in 2009, including Confederate national flags.

In June 2015, the National Park Service ceased flying Confederate flags over Fort Sumter.[68]

On June 23, 2015, three state governors—Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (a Democrat), Pat McCrory of North Carolina (a Republican), and Larry Hogan of Maryland (a Republican) announced plans to seek discontinuation of their states' Confederate-flag specialty license plates. In addition to the Charleston killings, the governors cited the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, issued days earlier, in which the Court affirmed that states are not constitutionally obligated to issue Confederate specialty plates.[69]

On June 24, 2015, Robert Bentley, governor of Alabama, ordered the removal of the Confederate flag from a memorial on the state capitol grounds. A spokeswoman for Governor Robert Bentley told the Montgomery Advertiser on Wednesday that he did not want the flag to be a "distraction".[70] Speaking with, Bentley said he made the decision himself to take the flag down.[71]

Removal from South Carolina State Capitol

Following the church shooting, many commentators questioned the continued display of the flag at the memorial on the State House grounds.[72][73][74][75][76] The flag had first been erected in 1962 by the state's Democratic governor in a protest against desegregation.[77] On June 22, Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for the flag's removal from state house grounds.[78] In the following weeks before the flag was officially removed, several men and women, including activist Bree Newsome, were arrested for removing or attempting to remove the flag as well as various other offences stemming from the protests around the flagpole. The attempts to remove the flag were criticized by several S.C. State legislators who actually supported the flag's removal because they said such actions could hurt their goal to have the flag permanently removed.[79][80][81][82][83]

Calls to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds, as well as debates over the context of its symbolic nature, were renewed after the attack[84][85] by several prominent figures, including President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush.[86] On June 20, several thousand people gathered in front of the South Carolina State House in protest. An online petition at encouraging the removal of the flag had received over 370,000 signatures by that time.[87]

At a statehouse press conference on June 22, 2015, Governor Nikki Haley, flanked by elected officials of both parties, including U.S. Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and former Republican Governor Mark Sanford, called for the flag to be removed by the state legislature, saying that while the flag was "an integral part of our past, it does not represent the future" of South Carolina.[88] "We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer," she said. The legislature, scheduled to meet the following day for a budget session, must vote by a two-thirds majority to extend debate to the flag issue, and by two-thirds to remove the flag from statehouse grounds,[89] although the legality of that provision has been questioned by some lawmakers.[90] Haley said she would call for a special session if the legislature did not act.[88]

"With the winds that started blowing last week, I figured it would just be a matter of time," said Ken Thrasher, speaking for the South Carolina division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which opposes the flag's removal. "Whatever the Legislature decides to do, we will accept it graciously."[90] A number of prominent Republicans who had previously appeared to struggle with the issue immediately endorsed Haley's call to remove the flag, including Kentucky Senator and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, and governors and presidential hopefuls Scott Walker and Rick Perry.[91]

On June 23, 2015, the South Carolina General Assembly added discussion of the flag to its special-session agenda in a procedural vote that indicated broad bipartisan support to remove the flag from the Statehouse grounds. The motion carried by a unanimous voice vote in the state senate and by a 103–10 vote in the state house. In the senate chamber, the desk of Clementa Pinckney, the pastor and state senator who died in the attack, was draped in black cloth with a white rose atop it. Among the legislators speaking in favor of removing the flag was Republican State Senator Paul Thurmond, son of Senator Strom Thurmond, whose 1948 "Dixiecrat" segregationist presidential campaign helped politically re-popularize the flag.[92][93]

Eulogizing the Rev. Clementa Pinckney on June 26, 2015, before 5,000 congregants at the College of Charleston, President Barack Obama acknowledged that the shooting had catalyzed a broad movement, backed by both Republicans and Democrats, to remove the flag from official public display. "Blinded by hatred, [the gunman] failed to comprehend what Reverend Pinckney so well understood: the power of God's grace," Obama said. "By taking down that flag we express God's grace. But I don't think God wants us to stop there."[94][95]

On July 6, 2015, the South Carolina Senate voted to remove the Confederate flag from display at the Confederate memorial on the grounds of the South Carolina State House. Following 13 hours of debate and over 60 attempts to amend the bill, the vote in the South Carolina House of Representatives to remove the flag was passed by a two-thirds majority (94–20) on July 9. Governor Nikki Haley signed the bill the same day.[96] On July 10, the Confederate flag was taken down for the last time and it will be stored until it can be later shown at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.[97]

Following the removal of the flag, the NAACP announced the end of its boycott of South Carolina.[59]

Retailer bans

Following the Charleston church shooting, the retailer Walmart announced that it would no longer sell items with the Confederate flag on them.[98] In a statement to the press, Walmart stated that "We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment – whether in our stores or on our web site."[99][100]

Shortly afterward, a number of other retailers, including, eBay, Etsy, Sears (which also operates Kmart) and Target announced that they would also be removing Confederate flag items from sale.[101][102] Google also pulled Confederate flag merchandise from their shopping site.[103]

Valley Forge Flag, Annin Flagmakers, Eder Flag and the Dixie Flag Manufacturing Company, four of the largest U.S. flag manufacturers, also announced that they would cease selling Confederate flags.[103][104][105][106]

The "General Lee", 1969 Dodge Charger, featured in Dukes of Hazzard.

Warner Bros. announced that they were halting production of the Dukes of Hazzard "General Lee" toy cars, which prominently featured a Confederate flag on the roof of the car.[107] Reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard television show were also pulled from TV Land's schedule due to the controversy.[108] On July 2, 2015, professional golfer Bubba Watson announced that he would modify the General Lee car that he purchased at auction by painting an American flag over the Confederate flag that had appeared on the car's roof since it was customized for the TV series in 1978.[109][110]

Also in June 2015, Apple's App Store began removing mobile apps featuring the flag.[111] Several U.S Civil War-based wargames were initially removed, but Apple later announced that they were only targeting apps "that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways" and was working with developers who felt that their apps were wrongly removed.[111][112]

The U.S. National Park Service announced that it is requesting that its retail partners stop selling the Confederate flag, as well as other items that depict the flag as a stand-alone feature.[113][114]


Following the Charleston church shooting, the American auto racing sanctioning body NASCAR, which has roots in the Southern United States and has many fans who fly the Confederate flag at campsites, supported Governor Haley in removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House. In addition, NASCAR chairman Brian France vowed the sanctioning body would not associate themselves with the flag and wanted to eliminate the flag from races. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Gordon, along with team owner and former NBA player Brad Daugherty (the only African American team owner in NASCAR), also supported eliminating the Confederate flag from racing events.[115] Prior to the Coke Zero 400 race at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2015, the track announced fans can voluntarily exchange Confederate flags for American flags.[116] On July 2, 2015, the NASCAR tracks issued a joint statement calling for fans to refrain from flying the Confederate flag at races,[117] but many fans still continued the practice.[118]

Confederate flag ban passed by U.S. House of Representatives

Confederate flag at the grave of a Confederate soldier on St. Simons, Georgia

On May 19, 2016, the United States House of Representatives voted to ban the display of Confederate flags on flagpoles at Veterans Administration cemeteries, by a 265-159 vote. The ban was contained in an amendment (House Amendment 592, 114th Congress) to House bill 2822, an appropriations bill.[119] The author of the amendment was California congressman Jared Huffman, who stated that the flag represented "racism, slavery and division."[120]

See also