Confederate Flag Banner Flies Over NASCAR Track For Second Time Following Ban
A Confederate banner was spotted flying above the Bristol Motor Speedway prior to NASCAR’s All-Star Race in Tennessee on Wednesday, July 15.
As well as the Confederate symbol, the banner included a reference to ‘SCV.org’, a website operated by the Sons of Confederate Veterans organisation.
This Columbia based organisation has previously claimed responsibility for a banner bearing the words ‘defund NASCAR’ which was flown above the Talladega Speedway in Florida in June.
Prior to the Talladega Speedway race, the Sons of Confederate Veterans hired a small plane to fly over the track, in protest the new ban on Confederate flags and imagery being shown at NASCAR races and venues.
As reported by the Columbia Daily Herald, Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander in Chief, Paul C. Gramling Jr., made the following comments following the initial protest at the Talladega Speedway:
NASCAR’s banning the display of the Confederate battle flag by its fans is nothing less than trampling upon Southerners’ First Amendment Right of free expression.
This un-American act shall not go unchallenged. (On Sunday), members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Confederate Air Force displayed its disapproval of NASCAR’s trampling upon the First Amendment Rights of Southerners.
During and before the start of the NASCAR race in Talladega, Alabama, race, our plane flew a banner announcing a drive to ‘defund NASCAR’.
As per the Sons of Confederate Veterans website, the group is committed to ‘preserving the history and legacy of these heroes so that future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern cause’.
The first demonstration at the Talladega Speedway coincided with the weekend cup series driver Bubba Wallace discovered a noose inside his garage. An FBI investigation concluded the noose had been there since October.
Wallace – who is the only Black driver in the Cup Series – is an outspoken critic of the Confederate flag, and called upon NASCAR to ban it from all events, speedways and other NASCAR venues in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
On June 10, NASCAR announced the symbol would be banned, stating that the presence of the flag was contrary to its commitment to provide a ‘welcoming and inclusive environment’.
The Confederate flag is a divisive and polarising symbol in the US, and is often used by white supremacists as a means of demonstrating their racist views.
After the American Civil War (1861-1865), many of those in the white south sentimentalised the flag, regarding it to symbolise the ‘lost cause’ of the war, a cause that was very much intertwined with polarised opinions on slavery.
In the 20th century, the symbol accumulated further horrifying connotations, with the Ku Klux Klan flying it in protest against those wanting to end to dehumanising and deeply racist segregation laws.
It was held up during some of the most abhorrently racist moments in US history, including during lynchings and at demonstrations organised for the purpose of stopping black children attending schools with white children.
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CreditsColumbia Daily Herald
Columbia Daily Herald