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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: The Southern Legal Resource Center Heritage Update

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Southern Legal Resource Center Heritage Update


In what may have been one of the least-heralded policy reversals of the Southern Culture War, Dickson County, Tennessee, public schools have quietly abandoned their ban on campus displays of Confederate symbols.

The lifting of the ban climaxed a chain of events that began in October of 2006, when the SLRC wrote a demand letter to the school board’s attorney on behalf of a Sons of Confederate Veterans member whose son had been adversely affected. The attorney never replied and it was later discovered that the school system had changed attorneys. On August 17 of this year, Knoxville Attorney and SLRC Board member Van R. Irion contacted the school board on behalf of the student and his parents, citing viewpoint discrimination and calling the Board’s attention to pending lawsuits on similar grounds in Anderson and Blount Counties in Tennessee. On September 6, the student’s father contacted Irion to say that the ban had been lifted, without fanfare.

“When I contacted the school board I made sure they understood the implications of those Blount and Anderson County cases,” said Irion, who is prosecuting both cases with the SLRC acting in an advisory capacity.

“This is a clear-cut and very important victory,” Irion said. “Too often people get preoccupied with just the heritage cases that end up in court, but when we can get the opposition to back down without even having to litigate, that’s even better. The SLRC has had several such victories lately and so have I,and that’s when you know the precedents are really starting to take hold. I’m very optimistic about the way things are starting to look. The important thing is to keep fighting.”

Irion noted that two schools in Knox County, Tennessee, have recently relaxed their dress codes so as to allow Confederate symbols.



RINGGOLD, GA – SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk D. Lyons held a weekend strategy session with members of the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans regarding the next steps to be taken in compelling the Town of Ringgold to replace the Confederate Battle Flag it removed two years ago from the Historic Ringgold Depot memorial site.

“We’ve arrived at an overall game plan that we have every confidence will be successful,’ Lyons said, “but it’s going to require careful coordination and maximum security. That’s why, for the time bring, we’re not letting the general public know our plans. I can say this – it’s going to be a real team effort.”

The Ringgold town council removed the flag in March of 2005, following objections to its presence by the local NAACP. Members of the local SCV camp argued for its restoration, citing Georgia statutes prohibiting interference with a memorial display, but were rebuffed by the Council’s attorney. The town then substituted a blue Hardee-pattern corps flag for the battle flag which it claimed was historically correct because it was the unit flag of Confederate forces who fought at the Battle of Ringgold Gap (November 27, 1863). SCV members countered that the Battle Flag, as a soldiers’ and later a veterans’ flag, was the appropriate flag, as the display was intended to honor all Confederates who left for all theaters of the war from Ringgold Depot, and not just those involved in the action there. The matter remained in limbo until April of this year, when the Georgia Division of the SCV retained the SLRC to pursue the matter.

“Our plan should be well under way within the month,” Lyons said.


If you have a stake in Southern heritage and culture, and are looking for a meaningful way to honor and protect them, please give generously to the Southern Legal Resource Center. With your help we can continue our aggressive efforts to secure the rights of all Southerners to express pride in their regional identity without fear of ridicule or reprisal, as should be the case for all Americans.

The Southern Legal Resource Center is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, and contributions to it are fully tax deductible. Credit card and PayPal donations may be made at our website by clicking on “How You Can Help.” Checks payable to the Southern Legal Resource Center should be mailed to P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC 28711. “Thumbs Up for Dixie” stickers are available for SLRC and local heritage fundraising projects. Contact the SLRC for details at (828) 669-5189 or


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