Confederate flag protest set in Walton County

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The event hosted by the Walton County Democratic Party will take place at noon on the steps of the courthouse in DeFuniak Springs.

By Heather Osbourne | 315-4440 | @heatheronwdfn | hosbourne@nwfdailynews.com

DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — The Walton County Democratic Party will host an event today to again request the removal of the Confederate flag from the Walton County Courthouse property.

People will gather on the steps of the courthouse at noon to celebrate the 154th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The original proclamation was an executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan 1, 1863, which changed the legal status of more than 3 million African-Americans from “slave to free.”

In light of the historic event, the organizers said they will hold up signs reading “remove the Confederate flag,” in hopes the demonstration will persuade county commissioners to put the flag issue back on the agenda.

“This is something that just has to happen,” said Margie Jordan, chairwoman of the Walton County Democratic Executive Committee. “We’re going to do this again and we’re not going to give up.”

The Walton County Democratic Party asked commissioners in 2015 to remove the controversial Stars and Bars, a battle flag first flown by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

Instead, commissioners voted to “compromise” by replacing the battle flag with the first national flag of the Confederate States of America.

The current flag, featuring two red stripes divided by a white stripe and 13 white stars on a blue background, was adopted in 1861 and was flown over the dome of the first Confederate capitol in Montgomery, Alabama.

Opponents of the flag were and still are not satisfied with the switch, Jordan said. She said the flag switch only replaced a “symbol of segregation with a symbol of slavery and secession.”

“The confederate flag and battle flag endorse the same statement,” she said. “The statement is that this county does not believe in equal rights for all within the halls of justice.”

Walton County is one of four counties in Florida that still flies the Confederate flag on courthouse property.

During today’s event, there will also be a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, a musical performance by a local church and a free picnic at Lake DeFuniak.

“We want everyone to come,” Jordan said. “I hope we will have a couple hundred people out here at our celebration.”

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