Lawmaker Wants Confederate Flag Specialty Plate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Panhandle lawmaker wants a "Confederate Heritage" license plate to join the 109 specialty tags already available in Florida.

The extra $25 motorists would pay for the tag would go to educational programs run by Sons of Confederate Veterans, graveyard maintenance and museum exhibits.

Rep. Donald Brown, R-DeFuniak Springs, filed the bill (HB 1007) last week. The plate would feature a shield displaying the rebel battle flag symbol surrounded by several flags from the Civil War era.

He said it would give motorists a way to show pride in their heritage.

"It's a Christian flag and people don't understand it because they take one side what they hear in the newspaper and what they hear on TV," said Fred Singletary, who studies Confederate history.

Singletary proudly waves the Confederate flag. He said the war between the north and south was about states' rights not slavery, and he said the belief that the flag is a symbol of racism is totally inaccurate.

"It's a noble flag. The American flag is a noble flag, and it was the confederation of the states that made America," Singletary said.

However, many don't agree with Singletary, and said they don't think the flag should go on a bumper.

"For me personally it would bring back memories of the Confederate war and all. I wouldn't like that I don't think," said Michael Thompson.

"We already know what the Confederate flag signifies and we need to be getting away from that," said Doreice Denson. "It's a shame that we're going to backtrack to a division that is already so stigmatized so negatively by black people and white people too."

Brown said his bill has nothing to do with race. He pointed out that he filed another bill that would rename part of a highway in Walton County after black civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.