Meeting About Large Confederate Flag Doesn't Fix Divide (FL)





TAMPA - They sat at the same tables inside Alessi Italian Bar & Grille on Saturday, but those who support and oppose a giant Confederate battle flag to be flown within view of Interstates 4 and 75 appear as divided as ever.
In April, the Sons of Confederate Veterans plan to fly the 50-foot-by-30-foot flag that inspired rebel soldiers atop a pole half as tall as a football field is long. The flag is part of a Confederate memorial that includes a lighted park and 30 bronze plaques set in granite telling Civil War stories.

The memorial sits on private property, and the plans have been approved by the County Commission. The banner is one of five being erected as part of a project called Flags Across Florida.

The plans, however, have drawn the ire of activists in the black community, who say the flag represents racism.
Representatives of both sides of the debate voiced their positions at Saturday's luncheon before an audience of barely more than a dozen people. The event was organized by Alvin McCray of Tampa, a member of both the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.



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