KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A confederate flag was flying at a home in South Knoxville on Friday. Not too far away at Village Barber Shop, the lowering of the flag at South Carolina’s state house the same day was a topic of conversation.
We asked Ron Sparks if he felt the flag lowering would change anything.
“Not in the South it won’t,” he replied. “If anything, it makes it stronger,” he added.
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“That’s a part of history. And I don’t think you can change history. I think it still needs to be flown today,” said Spencer Bailey.
“It’s the South. There’s nothing wrong with that. You have the Liberty Bell in Pennsylvania. I mean, are you going to take the bell down?” asked Betty Francis.
Most people WATE 6 On Your Side spoke with see it as a piece of Southern heritage. But there are some who agree that it’s a symbol of racism.
“If I’m supposed to love my neighbor, and my neighbor finds it offensive and it hurts them, it needs to come down,” said Adam Fritts.
At the East Tennessee Historical Society, a museum in downtown Knoxville, they expect Friday’s flag takedown in South Carolina to have a ripple effect locally.
The flag removed was taken to a museum.
“I’m sure there are places where the confederate flag could come down because trends do follow and if one would come to the East Tennessee Historical Society, it would go into our exhibit,” explained Cherel Henderson, executive director at the museum.
History buffs visiting the Civil War exhibit seemed to connect the flag more to America’s racist past and present.
“And we should go forward realizing that we support one another. No division,” said museum visitor Collene Dameron.
Confederate flag fans say they just don’t agree.
“It’s Southern heritage. It’s also the battle flag. People took it out of context and made it a racist thing, which it’s not,” Sparks said.