Brunswick mayor-elect looks to end tradition at Christmas parade

Leader would prefer not to see Confederate flag in parade

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The Brunswick Christmas Parade kicks off Saturday, but not without some controversy.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans' plan to march in the parade with a float decorated with the Confederate flag. It's a tradition they have done for years.

But there are some black leaders who would like the that tradition end, including the city's first black mayor-elect.

Dr. Hal Crowe is a Sons of Confederate Veterans member. He says during the Civil War, the Confederate flag acted as a guider during battle for his ancestors.

"All the members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are descendants of Confederate soldiers. We are still proud of the principles for which they were fighting for, which were for freedom and the Constitution, states' rights and this is one of those emblems for which they were fighting," Crowe said.

It's that heritage the Sons of Confederate Veterans proudly display at the Brunswick Christmas Parade each year.

Crowe said the Battle Flag gets a bad reputation thanks to the KKK, and mainstream media who portray the symbol as one of hate and racism.

Crowe says the Sons of Confederate Veterans do not honor the flag for those reasons, instead said it is a symbol of respect for their loved ones.

"I think most people who are aware of their ancestry and family history view these things with pride," Crowe said.

For Brunswick's first black mayor-elect, the Confederate flag is a reminder of the slavery his ancestors endured.

"How they used to treat blacks, that's what it symbolizes to me. It symbolizes the same thing to a number of other blacks as well," said mayor-elect, Cornell Harvey.

Harvey says he would prefer not to see it at Saturday's Christmas parade. But he will not stop the Sons of Confederate Veterans' marching in future parades.

"My position is that I don't like it. Until we rise up and get laws in the United States against flying those types of flags, then there is really little that we can do about it. Other than voice our opinion. Voice our displeasure," Harvey said.

Despite the backlash, no protests are planned for Saturday's parade.