Tampa’s Confederate Flag Sparks Outrage Amidst South Carolina Shootings

As South Carolina protestors call to remove the Confederate flag flown at the state’s Capitol in light of nine black church members being slain last week, Tampa officials are debating whether or not the same should take place here.

“Given what happened in South Carolina, it opens old wounds about the flag flying in Tampa,” said Curtis Stokes, who was President of the Hillsborough County branch of the NAACP when the flag was dedicated in 2009. “It’s a symbol of oppression, it’s a symbol of a divide in American history, and I still think it’s wrong.”

Flown from a 139-foot pole, the battle flag measures 30 feet high and 60 feet long. This makes it the largest confederate flag in the world.

In the past week, we have seen a large outcry about the Confederate flag; Walmart and eBay have stopped selling items with the flag, and even the famed car from television’s Dukes of Hazard will no longer see replicas bearing the flag. The issue is different to each side of the argument, with protesters holding the flag to be a symbol of hate, while supporters hold the flag to be a symbol of fighting for liberty and freedom in the south during a time of civil turmoil.

In 1994, the flag was removed from the Hillsborough County seal, and in 2007, county commissioners refused to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day. For some protestors, the removal of this large flag in light of the South Carolina shootings to be a continuation of the “progress” we have made since the previous removals of the flag.

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