Why Should Stacey Abrams Have To Defend Burning Her State Flag With A Confederate Symbol In 1992?
Last week Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s democratic candidate for governor, faced alleged voter suppression tactics spurred by her opponent, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and this week Abrams’ critics are again hitting hard after The New York Times reported on Abrams’ participation in a flag-burning demonstration while she was a freshman in college.
The demonstration took place on the steps of the state’s Capitol building in 1992 while Abrams attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. As history will show at the time, Georgia’s state flag contained the Confederate battle flag emblem, a high point of contention for Black residents who were reminded daily of the daily injustices bestowed upon them.
The information was printed in a New York Times article that ran on Monday evening, along with a photo from a 1992 story that ran in the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, placing Abrams at the scene. The Times ran the story the day before Abrams faces against Kemp in a Tuesday evening gubernatorial debate.
It should not be lost on us that Abrams is running a tight race against Kemp, and if she is elected on November 6, she will become the first Black woman to secure a gubernatorial seat in America’s history.
Abrams’ campaign released a statement in response to the story, highlighting the deeply entrenched racism which permeated the flag’s representation.
“During Stacey Abrams’ college years, Georgia was at a crossroads, struggling with how to overcome racially divisive issues, including symbols of the Confederacy, the sharpest of which was the inclusion of the Confederate emblem in the Georgia state flag,” the statement read. “This conversation was sweeping across Georgia as numerous organizations, prominent leaders, and students engaged in the ultimately successful effort to change the flag.”
After a rising up throughout the state of Georgia, the Confederate emblem was finally removed after 45 years in 2001.
Abrams is now being painted by her opponents as a “radical” instead of a young hopeful Black woman who didn’t want to pledge allegiance to a flag which marked the death and blood of her ancestors.
Abrams herself has vowed to remove Confederate monuments in the state of Georgia if she is indeed elected as governor. And like the battle to remove the emblem, Abrams will indeed have to again raise the level of consciousness just like she did on the steps of Georgia’s State Capitol in 1992.
If the President is allowed to boldly declare his allegiance to “nationalism,” Stacey Abrams should be allowed to combat the powers who uphold that same divisive frame of thinking.