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South Carolina Confederate flag display remains uncertain

January 24, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — More than two years since the Confederate flag’s removal from South Carolina’s Statehouse grounds, plans to display it remain uncertain.

Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum director Allen Roberson did not ask for money to display the flag during an appearance before a House budget-writing panel Tuesday, according to a report by the Post and Courier of Charleston. He did not bring up the flag and members did not ask about it.

The flag has been in storage since lawmakers removed it from the Statehouse in 2015, following the massacre of nine black parishioners at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church. The gunman, ultimately sentenced to death on federal charges, was seen in photos with a rebel flag.

State lawmakers rejected plans for a $3.6 million display. Roberson said that he will ask his board to fund a $300,000 plan, which would raise the display area’s ceiling and install glass doors, in lieu of the costly expansion.

Roberson said he had tried to find a display plan without renovation, but couldn’t.

“It wouldn’t fit the museum at all,” he said. “There is just no space. ... Everything I look to move disrupts the museum.”

If the board rejects the proposal, Roberson said he won’t ask lawmakers for the money. That makes it unlikely any display proposal would end up in the 2018-19 state budget.

“I don’t see the Legislature funding something that’s not requested,” said House Majority Leader Gary Simrill.

Roberson has said that, while the vinyl flag is historically significant, it is not a historical artifact and should not be displayed beside flags carried into battle and riddled with bullet holes and blood.

“Some people love it. Some people hate it,” he said. “Everybody has an opinion no matter where it goes.”

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Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com

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