What the Confederate flag means in America today

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tags: Civil War, Confederate flag

The Confederate flag was designed to represent a divided nation.

It was flown during the Civil War when 11 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas — broke from the nation to defend the practice of slavery. The Confederate Army lost that war more than 150 years ago, but the battle flag still represents a deep and bitter divide across America today. 

YouGov asked more than 34,000 Americans to say whether the Confederate flag most represents racism or heritage (additionally, panelists were allowed to select “Don’t know” or “neither of these” as responses). The poll was conducted after Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, said that the Confederate flag meant “service, sacrifice and heritage” in her state until a white supremacist “hijacked” its meaning and killed nine Black Americans. Following that shooting, the Confederate flag was permanently removed from South Carolina’s statehouse grounds.

For a plurality of Americans, the Confederate flag represents racism (41%). But for about one-third of Americans (34%) — particularly adults over 65, those living in rural communities, or non-college-educated white Americans — the flag symbolizes heritage. 

Read entire article at YouGov