Walmart and NASCAR have banned the Confederate flag. The former Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward and the Escambia County Commission replaced the Confederate flag in the five-flag display with Florida’s state flag in the summer of 2015.
However, the Rebel flags will continue to fly in Walton County. Tom McLaughlin of the NWF Daily News reports the Walton County commissioners rejected, by a 3-2 vote, a move to remove the Confederate Flag that has flown at the Walton County Courthouse since 1964, when county officials protested the Civil Rights Act. The county is only 5.2% Black. White make up 89.7 of its population, according to the 2019 estimates by the U.S. Census.
Locally, families at the Tate High School graduation were handed programs with a Confederate flag displayed with four other flags.
One attendee sent an email to the principal protesting the decision:
I thought the Tate graduation ceremony was well organized and did a good job of honoring the graduates amidst the pandemic.
However, I was disappointed you chose to display the Confederate flag on your graduation program (image below). I felt this was tone-deaf and inappropriate.
Admittedly, I do not know the history of J.M. Tate High School. However, Escambia County, Pensacola, the Bay Center, and NASCAR do not use the Confederate flag because it offends many. In 1973 U.S. District Judge Winston Arnow stopped Escambia High School from using the Confederate flag.The Pensacola mayor and council are discussing renaming Lee Square and removing the Confederate monument there.
I do not feel you are serving our graduates, or community well by continuing to use this “five flags” Confederate logo. By implicitly supporting an offensive logo, it makes changing an oppressive status-quo seem that much more difficult for graduates.
Can you remove this Confederate flag logo from future Tate graduation programs?
Tate High School’s student population is only 14.1% Black. White students make up 73.1%. This isn’t the first time the high school displayed the flag on its graduation program.