September 23rd, 2009
04:15 PM ET
9 years ago

Confederate flag again at issue in South Carolina

Rep. Gresham Barrett is one of five GOP candidates for governor in South Carolina.

Rep. Gresham Barrett is one of five GOP candidates for governor in South Carolina.

(CNN) - One of South Carolina's Republican candidates for governor is open to talking with the NAACP about ending its boycott of the state for flying the Confederate flag in front of the Statehouse.

But the candidate - congressman Gresham Barrett - doesn't want the flag removed.

During a debate Tuesday between the five GOP candidates for governor, Barrett answered "yes" when asked if he would consider sitting down with the NAACP to revisit the flag issue and come to some sort of resolution about the boycott, which began in 1999. Barrett was the only candidate asked if he would meet with the group.

But later in the debate, the entire GOP field was asked if the flag should be removed from the Statehouse grounds. All of them, including Barrett, said no.

"I think we have dealt with that issue, and I'm not willing to take a look at it right now," Barrett said.

Barrett spokesman B.J. Boling confirmed that his candidate is willing to meet with state NAACP representatives about ending their boycott. But he stressed that Barrett opposes removing the flag from the Statehouse grounds.

"The congressman feels like this issue has been dealt with in a bipartisan fashion, but he remains open to talking to various groups about the issues that are of concern to them," Boling said. "Saying he's willing to talk to somebody but also saying he thinks the issue has been addressed, I don't see how that's contradictory."

Lonnie Randolph, the president of the South Carolina NAACP, said he would "absolutely" meet with Barrett about the flag if he becomes governor, despite the "wayward and disrespectful views" of all five Republican candidates. Barrett's GOP primary opponents are Attorney General Henry McMaster, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, state Rep. Nikki Haley and state Sen. Larry Grooms.

"I think you learn things by having conversations," Randolph said of a possible sit-down with Barrett. "It's obvious from his positions and his views that he is misinformed. I would be more than happy to share my views with him."

The Confederate battle flag was placed atop the Statehouse dome in 1962, but was removed from the dome in 2000 after a divisive political fight that spilled into national view. The flag was moved to a spot on the Statehouse grounds next to a memorial honoring Confederate soldiers.

But the flag still waves in full view of one of Columbia's main thoroughfares, and the state NAACP has remained vocal. In July, the ACC decided to move its conference baseball tournament from Myrtle Beach to North Carolina after objections from the civil rights group.

Filed under: NAACP • South Carolina
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    And these kinds of low-life people are the ones that so many people in this country want in charge. This frightens me.

    September 23, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. John, Brooklyn, New York

    A typical Republican...

    Embrace the notion of tolerance and dialogue....but never give an inch on your bigotry.

    September 23, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Ren from Baltimore

    What's the news here, that South Carolina actually does not outlaw the NAACP?

    There are many, many wonderful Americans down there; but, with the politicians we've been seeing represent them, it is no wonder they do not care to participate, or even come out of doors.

    September 23, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Jessie

    You would think that with all of the embarrassing moments hailing from South Carolina in the past few months, the last thing they would want to bring up is the Confederate.

    Hey, South Carolina? The Civil War? YOU LOST, and apparentlly, YOU'RE STILL LOST.

    September 23, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |

    Next to Rep. Joe "You Lie" Wilson and this Confederate flag nonsense, both smacking of racism, Gov. Mark Sanford *almost* doesn't look so bad.

    Could South Carolina be any more of a national embarrassment?

    I decided to contribute to the campaign of Rob Miller, Wilson's 2010 challenger.

    Miller is a former marine and Iraq War veteran, and owns a small business in South Carolina.

    September 23, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. annie s

    Oh heck, let's let South Carolina secede already.

    September 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Lillie

    Those repubs in my home state need to get over it! The confederate flag is devisive but its offensive to African-Americans! Do I need to repeat the ugly history of slaver y in America? I don't think so.......

    September 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    I drove through SC not too long ago.

    Get with it guys, you have absolutly the worst roads in the country. Fix your state already....leave the politics out of it.

    Jenny...divorce your husband, you and the kids move on.
    Mark..... not often does one meet a soul mate. You are doing yourself a major wrong not following your heart.

    And to the rest of the idiots there.....move on!!!~!

    September 23, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. gt

    give it a rest .... you could be living in michigan,,, there they wave a white jobs ,,,

    September 23, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Freedom

    I always felt the confederate flag represented racisim. But in this day and age of Obama i can see why the flag would represent the rights of states to govern themselves. And the flage would represent also the freedom of people to live without the federal goverment interfering with their rights. So let it flag it's a piece of our history.

    September 23, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Stu

    Sadly, people still think the Civil War had anything to do with slavery. It did not. It had to do with the southern states not wanting the federal government dictating their affairs. Slavery was an afterthought, and the Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in rebelling areas.

    By the way, even the distinguished southern general, Robert E. Lee, correctly considered slavery to be a horrible abomination.

    September 23, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Sheryl

    What!!! OMG!!!

    September 23, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Reagan was wrong

    The people of New Jersey would like to thank the great state of South Carolina for becoming the new state everyone makes fun of by default.

    September 23, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. Video Guy

    Another reason not to visit South Carolina.

    September 23, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. Loup Garou 782

    If the State of South Carolina meets with and sucumbs to the wishes of these people, what will they demand next?
    It's time to stand up to these people and let them know thar we alos, have rights. Last but by no means least......John in Brooklyn, New York is a race bater in the same model as Skip gates and he sucks.

    September 23, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Pragmatic

    South Carolina? Again? Sanford & Joe Wilson – Senator (let's bring President Obama down) DeMint and the South Carolina GOP state activist who called a gorilla an "ancestor" of first lady Michelle Obama ... you could not make this stuff up! Reality TV wouldn't accept the premise! "Old time there are not forgotten ...." for sure!

    September 23, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. LacrosseMom

    And the GOP claim there is no racism in our country! The confederate flag stands for slavery and the sickness that is racism!

    BTW Joe Wilson fought to keep the confederate flag flying over South Carolina.

    A Nation who forgets its mistakes and its shameful past, is bound to repeat it.

    September 23, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. It offends everyone

    The confederate flag offends all patriotic Americans, not only black people. It is a symbol of treason as well as racisim.

    September 23, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Carl

    The CONFEDERATE FLAG should stay because it is part of South Carolina's history,PEROID.

    September 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. Gilbert Felix

    Yes, typical Republicans...southern Republicans to make matters worse.

    The Confederate Flag is one of the most disgusting blemishes in American History; similar to the swastika used during Nazi Germany.

    It stands for prejudice, hatred, ignorance, and regression.

    South Carolina needs to rid itself of this flag and its governor asap.

    September 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    if white racists groups had not taken the "stars and bars" as a symbol of their culture then the Confederate flag would be seen as nothing more than part of our history just like the one that said "Don't tread on me". You can thank those morons for messing it up for everybody else.

    September 23, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. Robin

    If it offends our neighbors, take it down.

    But then again, Bank of America refused to allow American Flags on their property to honor a hometown fallen hero because it may be offensive to some.

    September 23, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Walter

    All we need to know to understand this issue is that the Confederate battle flag has only been flown over South Carolina's capitol since 1962.

    It has nothing to do with regional heritage. It has really has nothing to do with the Civil War. Its has entirely to do with the Civil Rights movement that was beginning to threaten southern white racism in 1962.

    The Confederate battle flag that flies in South Carolina today is an expression of racism – today.

    September 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Johnny DC

    Who are the real bigots here? Who are the real racists?

    The Confederate flag represented a lot more than the right to own slaves. The majority of those complaining against the right to fly that flag are clearly uneducated, or at least uneducated enough to not have taken an advanced high-school level American History course, where the most important lesson taught is that the Civil War was barely about slavery at all, and more about economics.

    The real racists and bigots of this country are the ones who immediately declare their opposition is racist, without fact or hesitation.

    Oh, and the people who say "All GOP'ers are bigots." Those are the bigots. Trying to defend one group against stereotypes, you go ahead and stereotype another. Well done. Morons.

    September 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. debk

    So glad there's no racism anymore in the good old U.S. of A.

    September 23, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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