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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: Legal group says flag removal by city council may be unlawful

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Legal group says flag removal by city council may be unlawful

The Southern Legal Resource Center

For Immediate Release Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Legal group says flag removal by city council may be unlawful

BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC – The Southern Legal Resource Center says the removal of the Confederate flag from a historic area of a cemetery in Charlotte, North Carolina, appears to run counter to North Carolina law.

“Our legal contacts in Charlotte have discovered at least two cases where municipalities that had undertaken similar actions were found to be in violation of the law,” said SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie. “These are cases involving interference with gravesites, whether on so-called city property or not. There could be some serious legal implications here for the City of Charlotte.”

Yesterday [March 8] Charlotte City Manager Pam Syfert announced a new “rule” that only American, state and city flags may fly on city property. The Confederate flag, which had flown for the past decade next to a memorial in a section of the cemetery where Confederate soldiers are buried, was then removed along with its pole. The City had been contemplating such action since last summer when a councilman said he was worried that visitors would think the flag’s presence was “endorsed” by the city.

On a weekend night in January, while the city’s decision was supposedly still pending, city officials removed the flag from its pole. According to the Charlotte Observer, Assistant City Manager Julie Burch ordered the flagpole ropes cut so that members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans could not hoist another flag.

“That was an incredibly stupid move,” McCredie said. “It just further weakens the city’s already precarious position if anyone should decide to challenge the legality of it, and with feelings running as high as they are, that seems likely. The intelligent thing for the city to do would be quietly to put the flag back, but that’s not going to happen, so things will probably get interesting.”

The Southern Legal Resource Center is a nonprofit civil rights legal network that advocates in Southern culture and heritage cases.

For additional information, contact

Roger McCredie
(828) 669-5189


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