By Deb Belt
Does a new Georgia specialty license plate honor Southern heritage or celebrate an era of racial oppression?
A new Georgia specialty license plate featuring the Confederate battle flag has fueled a clash between those who believe it honors Confederate heritage and others who view it as a racially charged symbol of oppression, The Atlanta Journal-Constitutionreports.
"To display this is reprehensible," Eaton said. "We don't have license plates saying 'Black Power.' "
The Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans asked that the state issue the new plates. Spokesman Ray McBerry said the group meant no offense and views the plates as a way for people to honor their heritage.
"We believe that everyone has the right to preserve their heritage," he said. "Southerners have as much right to be proud of their heritage as anybody else."
The national group’s website says it upholds the best of American ideals and omits slavery as a factor in the Civil War.
“The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the Second American Revolution. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution," says the website. "These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built.”
The plate features a Confederate battle flag image in the background that covers the entire plate. It also features a logo of the Sons of Confederate veterans, which includes a smaller version of the flag.