‘Georgia was at a crossroads, struggling with how to overcome racially divisive issues, including symbols of the Confederacy…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia helped burn the state’s flag in the 1990s in protest of lingering white supremacy, reports The New York Times.
Abrams’s role in the flag-burning protest was uncovered by her Republican opponent, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, on the eve of their first debate.
Kemp said Abrams is “too extreme for Georgia,” as her college years reveal.
Abrams has frequently spoken out against Confederate historical symbols and the “white supremacy” they represent.
After the Charlottesville, Va. riots in 2017, Abrams said the Confederate memorials in Georgia should be removed.
The giant Confederate carving on Stone Mountain, a massive granite structure just a few miles from Atlanta—which depicts Confederate figure Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis—remains a prominent symbol of white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan, she said.
Kemp argued Georgians shouldn’t worry about rewriting the past, but instead should look toward a better future. He vowed to protect the Stone Mountain carving from “the radical left,” like Abrams.
In a statement, Abrams said her actions in the flag-burning protest in 1992 were part of a “permitted, peaceful protest against the Confederate emblem in the [Georgia] flag,” noting that the movement resulted in the successful removal of the Confederate symbol.
The flag’s design was changed in 2001, and the Confederate battle flag design was completely removed with a second change in 2003.
“During Stacey Abrams’ college years, Georgia was at a crossroads, struggling with how to overcome racially divisive issues, including symbols of the Confederacy, the sharpest of which was the inclusion of the Confederate emblem in the Georgia state flag,” her campaign said in a statement. “This conversation was sweeping across Georgia as numerous organizations, prominent leaders, and students engaged in the ultimately successful effort to change the flag.”
A picture of Abrams posing by the burning flag appeared in the front of the local section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper the next day.
In its statement, Abrams’s campaign said her service to Atlanta as deputy city attorney and to Georgia as a state legislative leader is more important than Kemp’s attacks.
“Abrams’ time in public service has all been focused on bringing people together to solve problems,” the statement reads.
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) October 23, 2018