Upset, ‘Carolina Flaggers’ Say They Were Kept Out of Summerville Parade
SUMMERVILLE, SC (BRODIE HART, WTAT-TV) — A holiday parade was the backdrop of a renewed Lowcountry debate over the Confederate flag.
Members of the group ‘Carolina Flaggers’ say they are not happy after they were “unfairly pulled from the parade lineup.”
They say a parade organizer asked them to remove two Confederate battle flags from their truck before the parade started. But that did not happen according to parade organizers.
Earlier, the group agreed to adjust the number of flags they were going to display, but, once they hit the parade route members say they were actually asked to leave.
Members say the official reason was that their float had too many flags but told us other floats had just as many and were not asked to leave. They say the list of rules didn’t even include the word “flag.”
“The flagging operation is the only thing we know left to do,” said James Bessenger, a member of the SC Secessionist Party. “We tried writing our legislators trying to get change, tried writing local leaders to get change. They only way we can see to get our message across is to interact with the public and there is no better way to do that, getting a response out of people positive or negative, than holding a Confederate flag on the sidewalk.”
Louis Smith with the Community Resource Center argued the ‘Carolina Flaggers’ should have been kept out from the start.
“The reduced presence of the Sons of Confederate Veterans shows that we can do this without being overwhelming. Without insulting other people’s cultures, other people’s histories,” he said
Smith mentioned the Sons of Confederate Veterans, but that was a separate group also in the parade. We are told they also had the Confederate battle flag but were not told to leave.
Members of that group say their application to organize was accepted, approved and had all of the necessary permits.
FOX 24 checked with the group Summerville Dream who organized Sunday’s parade. Organizers there said they checked out the float before the parade and say it did not match what was originally in that group’s application.
A leader told us in part: “We advised them of such, and gave them the opportunity to fix the issue. Before they entered the parade route, we were advised by our starters that the issue had not been fully fixed. At that point, the decision was made to remove them from the lineup prior to their entry into the parade route.”