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Sons of Confederate Veterans admit flying flag at Talladega

An organization named The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) is claiming responsibility for flying the rebel flag and a banner reading ‘DEFUND NASCAR’ over Sunday’s scheduled race in Alabama in response to the stock car circuit’s decision to ban the ‘stars and bars’ from all events.

Amid national uproar over the killing of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police last month, Bubba Wallace, the only black full-time driver currently on NASCAR’s top circuit, successfully pushed for the Confederate flag to be banned at all races. 

Paul C. Gramling Jr., who is listed as the SCV ‘Commander in Chief,’ told the Columbia Daily Herald on Wednesday that his nearly 123-year-old organization arranged for the banner to be flown over Talladega in response to that ban.

‘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,’ Gramling Jr. said. ‘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.’ 

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Paul C. Gramling Jr. (pictured), who is listed as the SCV 'Commander in Chief,' told the Columbia Daily Herald on Wednesday that his nearly 123-year-old organization was solely responsible for the act

Amid national uproar over the killing of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police last month, Bubba Wallace (pictured), the only black full-time driver on NASCAR's top circuit, successfully pushed for the Confederate flag to be banned at all races

Paul C. Gramling Jr. (left), who is listed as the SCV ‘Commander in Chief,’ told the Columbia Daily Herald on Wednesday that his nearly 123-year-old organization was solely responsible for the act. Amid national uproar over the killing of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police last month, Bubba Wallace (right), the only black full-time driver on NASCAR’s top circuit, successfully pushed for the Confederate flag to be banned at all races

Commander in Chief Paul C. Gramling Jr. said the banner was flown by the SCV's 'air force'

Commander in Chief Paul C. Gramling Jr. said the banner was flown by the SCV’s ‘air force’

The banner was flown in response to NASCAR's move to ban the Confederate flag from races

The banner was flown in response to NASCAR’s move to ban the Confederate flag from races








Gramling went on say that he hopes NASCAR reverses its ban on the Confederate flag, suggesting that doing so would somehow help to unify the country.

‘It is the hope of the Sons of Confederate Veterans that NASCAR fans will be allowed the fundamental American right of displaying pride in their family and heritage,’ he told the Daily Herald. 

‘The Sons of Confederate Veterans is proud of the diversity of the Confederate military and our modern Southland. We believe NASCAR’s slandering of our Southern heritage only further divides our nation.

‘The Sons of Confederate Veterans will continue to defend not only our right but the Right of all Americans to celebrate their heritage. We trust NASCAR will do the same.’ 

In response to NASCAR’s ban, SCV had arranged for a small propeller plane to fly the Confederate Flag over the northern Alabama race track before Sunday’s scheduled race at Talladega while a caravan of cars paraded the rebel banner in front of the main entrance.

However, that display was overshadowed on Sunday when a rope was discovered in Wallace’s garage stall that was reported to be a noose and initially thought to be a racist attack in retaliation for the Confederate flag ban.

All 39 other NASCAR drivers rallied in support of Wallace before Monday’s restart, collectively pushing his No. 43 car to the front of the grid in a show of solidarity. Wallace, an Alabama native, became overwhelmed with emotion and fought back tears as his car owner, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, gave him a hug in the moments before the race began.

By Tuesday, an FBI investigation found that the item – which is described in a NASCAR statement as a ‘garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose’ – had been there since 2019, when a white driver was using that specific stall.

Wallace, who did not discover the noose and wasn’t the person who reported it to NASCAR or the FBI, faced criticism for the misunderstanding on Wednesday, but described himself as ‘relieved’ that it was not intended as a racist threat.

‘I think we’ll gladly take a little embarrassment over what the alternatives could have been,’ he said in a statement.

In response to NASCAR's ban, SCV had arranged for a small propeller plane to fly the Confederate Flag over the northern Alabama race track before Sunday's scheduled race at Talladega while a caravan of cars (pictured) paraded the rebel banner in front of the entrance

In response to NASCAR’s ban, SCV had arranged for a small propeller plane to fly the Confederate Flag over the northern Alabama race track before Sunday’s scheduled race at Talladega while a caravan of cars (pictured) paraded the rebel banner in front of the entrance

All 39 other NASCAR drivers rallied in support of Wallace before Monday's restart, collectively pushing his No. 43 car to the front of the grid in a show of solidarity. Wallace, an Alabama native, became overwhelmed with emotion and fought back tears as his car owner, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, gave him a hug in the moments before the race began

All 39 other NASCAR drivers rallied in support of Wallace before Monday’s restart, collectively pushing his No. 43 car to the front of the grid in a show of solidarity. Wallace, an Alabama native, became overwhelmed with emotion and fought back tears as his car owner, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, gave him a hug in the moments before the race began

While the noose in Bubba Wallace's garage turned out to be an innocent garage pull, the display of Confederate flags being paraded outside Talladega remains a sore spot for NASCAR

While the noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage turned out to be an innocent garage pull, the display of Confederate flags being paraded outside Talladega remains a sore spot for NASCAR

Before the FBI determined the supposed noose was an innocent garage door pull, an attorney for SCV denounced the perceived racist act and denied that anyone in the Columbia, South Carolina-based organization could be responsible.

‘The threat against Bubba Wallace is not only reprehensible, it is un-American,’ said attorney Edward Phillips.

The Confederate flag has been a controversial hallmark for NASCAR, which is rooted in the South and has become a symbol of Southern identity in the US.

While the Confederate flag is, undoubtedly, another symbol of the South, its history is inextricably linked with slavery and the racist motivations behind the secession of the southern states in 1860.

As Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stevens infamously said at the onset of the Civil War: ‘Our new [government’s] foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man.’

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is described as a non-profit, charitable organization, which was founded on July 1, 1896. The group is known for resisting any attempt to remove Confederate monuments, such as Stone Mountain in Georgia (pictured)

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is described as a non-profit, charitable organization, which was founded on July 1, 1896. The group is known for resisting any attempt to remove Confederate monuments, such as Stone Mountain in Georgia (pictured)

While only 5,000 fans were permitted to attend Sunday’s scheduled start due to COVID-19, those who were there voiced frustration to the Associated Press about the Confederate flag ban. One fan, Luke Johnson, told the AP that ‘All the NASCAR tracks need to keep on flying them’ before adding that he thought the perceived ‘noose’ in Wallace’s garage was ‘funny.’

Another fan, Robert Chaisson, said he didn’t have a strong opinion on the ban. He certainly did on what happened to Wallace.

‘That was messed up. I hope they charge that guy with a hate crime,’ Chaisson, who lives in Alabaster, Alabama, said.

‘It doesn’t matter what your opinion is, it’s when you cross that line, then your opinion no longer matters. That’s trying to inflict harm on someone else.’

Meanwhile a small number of Black Lives Matters supporters were seen lining the streets and waving the American flag. One demonstrator held a sign that read ‘Not My South.’ 

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is described as a non-profit, charitable organization, which was founded on July 1, 1896. The group is known for resisting any attempt to remove statues of Confederate veterans, and famously failed in an attempt to create a speciality license plate in Mississippi to honor Confederate Lieutenant General and KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest in 2011. 

A small number of Black Lives Matters supporters were seen lining the streets of Talladega on Sunday and waving the American flag. One demonstrator held a sign that read 'Not My South'

A small number of Black Lives Matters supporters were seen lining the streets of Talladega on Sunday and waving the American flag. One demonstrator held a sign that read ‘Not My South’

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Written by Angle News

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