ATLANTA - Once again, the state of Georgia is putting the Confederate battle flag on official state products. A nonprofit group got the emblem on specialty license plates.
Neither the Governor's Office nor the Revenue Department, which approved the design, would go on camera with Channel 2’s Jeff Dore to talk about it.
For about a decade, the Sons of Confederate Veterans have had a specialty car tag and about 10,000 Georgia cars have them. But when Georgia changed tags from a metal stamp to a digital print, the design possibilities opened up.
“Never before have we been able to feature the actual battle flag on the entire size of the plate,” said Sons of Confederate Veterans Ray McBerry.
Now, the plate has the group's logo on the left and battle flag over the whole design.
The president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Charles Steele, is outraged that Georgia would put that symbol on state license plates.
“When you go back to the Confederacy, when you go back to slavery, when you go back to the south, when it was legal to actually enslave people of color, African-Americans, we are saying that we don't need to celebrate this in terms of the sons of the confederacy,” Steele said,
But McBerry denies the SCLC contention that the battle flag is divisive.
“Well, it's no more divisive than having a black history month. Confederate heritage month or Confederate flags are no more divisive than symbols of anybody else's history and heritage,” McBerry said.
The Confederate design on the old Georgia state flag was one of the issues that analysts believe was the downfall of governor Roy Barnes. It's too early to see if this will be as big an issue.