Confederate Flag debated during Dodge County commissioners meeting

EASTMAN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Confederate Flag continues to fly in Dodge County.

The flag is located at the Dodge County Courthouse near the monument dedicated to the Confederate soldiers who fought during the civil war.

Some residents, like Scott Goolsby who has lived in Dodge County for more than 60 years, believe the confederate flag reminds him of America’s ugly past.

“We all have to live together you know, and I think everyone should be in an environment where everyone is comfortable around each other and that flag draws a line,” explained Goolsby. “When I was a child I couldn’t in a drug store and buy a comic book. Because I wasn’t allowed there because I was Black.”

John Harrington is the county’s attorney. In a statement, he tells 41NBC during the last Board of Commissioner’s meeting on July 6 a motion was made by District Four Commissioner Karen Cheek to consider allowing a referendum to be placed on the November ballot asking if county residents wanted to keep or remove the flag.

“The motion was seconded and discussed but did not pass primarily because the Georgia legislature has state laws which would control in this matter,” Harrington explained. “In looking at existing state law we saw that the matter was addressed by the Georgia Legislature in O.C.G.A. § 50-3-1 which states:

(b)(1) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or other entity to mutilate, deface, defile, or abuse contemptuously any publicly owned monument, plaque, marker, or memorial which is dedicated to, honors, or

recounts the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state, the United States of America or the several states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or the several states thereof, and no officer, body, or representative of state or local government or any department, agency, authority, or instrumentality thereof shall remove or conceal from display any such monument, plaque, marker, or memorial for the purpose of

preventing the visible display of the same. A violation of this paragraph shall constitute a misdemeanor.”

The Eastman-Dodge County Chamber of Commerce & Development Authority President Charles Williams says he prefers not to take sides of the Confederate Flag debate.

“The flag issue has people on both sides and they have arguments that are strong for both sides of the issue,” Williams said.

Still, Goolsby says the Confederate Flag is unsettling for him.

“Whenever I look at that flag I say well, the white people do not really care about the black people’s feelings,” he said.

Kevin Crowley described the Confederate Flag as having a lot of “bad connotations.” He says if people want to display the Confederate Flag, perhaps they should do so in their yards or cars, but not on taxpayer’s property.

“I can understand people being reluctant to have it,” explained Crowley. “Being that it’s state property maybe it should be taken off. The war is over, the South Carolina gentleman, General Lee said ‘It’s time to fold up the flag and put it away.'”

Categories: Dodge County, Local News

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