This is a story that strikes close to home.
Myron Penn, a black attorney with the law firm Penn & Seaborn, who used to be my Alabama state senator in District 28 from 2003 to 2011, has created a huge local controversy in nearby Union Springs, AL by removing Confederate Battle Flags from the Confederate cemetery there.
Penn and his White wife went into the Confederate cemetery and plucked the small little flags off the soldiers’ graves which had been placed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to honor Confederate Memorial Day:
“At Monday’s Bullock County Commission meeting, Attorney Myron Penn announced that he and his wife, Karen, recently removed Confederate flags from behind the Red Door Theater.
In his presentation, Penn stated that the flags were “symbols of a divided society, and I do not want the children of our community—black, white, Hispanic, or whatever–to ever feel they are a part of a community that is divided.” …
The story has roiled the Confederate heritage community on Facebook. It has also created a local backlash which was featured last night on WSFA 12:
“It’s not about race or the flag or anything else. It’s about decency and respect for the dead. You don’t do stuff like that,” added Rebecca Atkins. “You got to give respect where it’s deserved and those soldiers gave their lives just like any other soldier gives their lives. It’s nothing racial and it’s not about discrimination. You look at the person who served for our country and that’s what matters.”
Others say it was criminal, citing Alabama Code 13A-7-23.1 which states that it’s against the law to “willfully and wrongfully or maliciously destroy, remove, cut, break, or injure any tree, shrub, plant, flower, decoration, or other real or personal property within any cemetery or graveyard.”
Penn responded to the backlash and says no laws were broken since he left the items at City Hall for anyone to claim and pick up. He says the city typically removes the flags after Confederate Memorial Day anyway. …”
Note: A group called “Defenders of the Confederate Cross” will be holding a protest in Union Springs on June 19.