Friday, June 26, 2015

Old Glory a source of pride for rural African Americans at flag factory in South Carolina

In a rural town 65 miles north of Charleston, S.C.—where nine African Americans were murdered in a historic church and a white suspect with ties to hate groups was arrested for the crime—the mostly African American employees of the Valley Forge Flag factory in Lane, S.C., continue to take pride in manufacturing American flags, while applauding their employer's decision to discontinue making the Confederate flag, Edward McAllister reports for Reuters. Confederate flags are not made a the Lane factory. (Reuters photo by Brian Snyder: Keisha Hardman cuts and sews U.S. flags at Valley Forge's manufacturing facility in Lane, S.C.)

African American Margaree Mitchum, manager of the 100 employees at the Lane factory, told McAllister, "I look at a flag differently now. When I started to sew, and I saw them flying, it filled my heart because I’d had my hands on them . . . For us, as black people, the Confederate flag shows racism. Everything has its place, and I think it should be taken down."

Scott Liberman, chief executive officer of Valley Forge, a company founded by his great grandfather in 1882, told McAllister of manufacturing the Confederate flag, "I wish I had stopped doing it a long time ago. If it has become offensive to people, I don't want anything to do with it." (Read more)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the Capitol grounds, and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday ordered the Confederate flag and other Civil War flags to be removed from Capitol grounds. Lawmakers in Mississippi, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia have also discussed removing the Confederate flag from state grounds or license plates and the University of Texas is discussing the future of a statue of Confederacy President Jefferson Davis on school grounds, reports The Associated Press.

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