Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rural Arkansas town takes swipe at Confederate flag

The city council of tiny Marshall, Arkansas, population 1535, voted this week to impose a fine of $1,000 on anyone flying any flag other than the Arkansas state flag or the flag of the United States of America over city hall. Repeat violations are subject to a fine of $5,000. The city council's decision came after Marshall's mayor, Jim Smithson, flew the Confederate flag over city hall last week, including on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. An earlier news report from the AP (no longer on the web) indicated that Arkansas also commemorates Robert E. Lee's Birthday in mid-January. That fact is not included in this story by a Little Rock television station.

Marshall is the county seat of Searcy County, population 8002. Searcy County is a persistent poverty county in the state's Ozark mountain region. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, no African Americans lived in Searcy County at the time of the 2000 Census.


Caitlin said...

I have a lot of thoughts about the Confederate flag as a symbol for racism, versus a symbol for independence, in a very Libertarian sense. Anyone interested in the subject matter should read Confederates in the Attic, by Tony Horowitz, a book I read for a class in undergrad on Race and Memory.

I am not very familiar with the confederate flag's use and connotation specifically in rural places. It is interesting that a rural community chose to regulate against the flying of Confederate flags, especially given what we've discussed in class about rural places being generally unregulated.

Anonymous said...

This issue was more about the mayor taking it on himself to fly the so-called Confederate flag (actually the CSA naval ensign or a version of the CSA battle flag). The city council rightfully thought that the only flags that should fly over city hall should be that of the state and the nation. Townsfolk are free to fly the Confederate flag on their own property.