NAACP Takes On New Confederate Flag Battle

Like other communities across the south, the Confederate flag has caused quite a stir among the residents of Crestview, Fla., but Florida's latest case doesn't revolve around the rebel flag appearing above the state capital, but over its appearance above a Confederate monument.

City council is debating whether to remove the southern battle flag from a sliver of city land where it flies above Confederate Park, a monument to the Civil War.  Supporters call it a testament to the battle of states' rights.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says the flag is offensive to blacks and represents a history of hate.

"There's no question that someone's offended by the Confederate flag being flown on public property," Sabu Williams, President of the Okaloosa County NAACP, said.

The two sides sat close enough in city hall last week to heckle and holler at each other as the council discussed whether the flag, dedicated 44 years ago by the Lions Club and the city's current mayor, should be removed. After hours of tense back and forth arguments, the city council sidestepped making a decision saying it needed more time to study the issue. 

Proponents on both sides of the debate say there is nothing to talk about.

"I'm not offended by it in any way at all," George Whitehurst, Crestview mayor said.

Hayden Lundy said his grandfather, Uncle Bill Lundy, a Crestview native to whom the monument is dedicated, was a proud Confederate soldier who fought for states rights and not slavery.

"My grandpa weren't the kind of fella that would hurt a black person in any way cause my grandpa knew they were his neighbors and he was neighborly with them," Lundy said.

But the Southern Christian Leadership Council says the beef isn't with Bill Lundy or the memorial to him. 

"People are afraid they feel intimidated and offended when they see the flag," Felton Barnes of the SCLC said.

Confederate causes in a politically correct world have not fared well. Supporters hope Crestview will be different.

"The Confederate cause has taken some hits but I think it has underscored our resolve to stand up for our monuments our history and our heritage in this country," Phillip White of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said.