WASHINGTON – The Republican-controlled House scrapped a vote on permitting the Confederate flag at Park Service-run cemeteries on Thursday, a retreat under fire that only escalated a ferocious attack by Democrats complaining the banner celebrates a murderous, racist past.
“What exactly is the tradition of the Confederate battle flag that we’re supporting?” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., demanded as racial political tensions flared.
“Is it slavery, rape, kidnap, treason, genocide or all of the above?” he asked.
No Republican rose to respond, although some officials privately charged that Democrats had falsely accused GOP lawmakers of racism. They noted the proposal would merely have written Obama administration policy into law.
The proposal would have permitted the limited display of the Confederate flag at Park Service-run cemeteries in states that observe a holiday commemorating the Confederacy, and only at the graves of rebels who died in the Civil War.
In line with a Park Service memorandum from 2010, it would have affected 10 graveyards, including four in Tennessee, three in Virginia and one each in Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.