Annie Chambers Caddell, whose ancestors fought in the Civil War, insists the Confederate flag flying over her Summersville, South Carolina home is an important reminder of her heritage and that she is not a racist or trying to create a rift in her town.
But for her neighbors in this tree-lined, historically black neighborhood, it’s an unpleasant reminder of a by-gone era they’d rather not see each time they pass her home.
Caddell, who is white, moved into the Brownsville neighborhood in June and began flying the flag about a month later. Since then, more than 200 residents signed a protest petition, and now neighbors plan to march Saturday along the street in front of Caddell’s house, according to Boston.com.
“That flag means a lot more to me than anything I can describe to you,” Caddell said. “It’s my heritage and it’s my right. I’m not trying to slam anybody, and I wish I wouldn’t be slammed either.”
Reports say she also flies the American flag from her modest brick house, and her yard has various ornaments including a gnome, Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, and a sign on her fence reading, 'Confederate Boulevard.'
James Patterson, a neighbor of Caddels said "I know she has a legal right to do that on her property. But just because it’s legally right, doesn’t make it morally right,’’ said Patterson, who is black. “You can put up what you want, but if this was a Jewish community and someone moved in and started flying swastika flags, there would be a lot of hell raised about that as well.’’
The town of Summerville has said that while Caddell has the right to fly the flag, neighbors also have the right to march after she spoke a special meeting and tearfully told the council she was not a racist in any way.
It is not South Carolina’s first controversy over the flag of the Confederacy. After years of debate, South Carolina lawmakers voted in 2000 to move the Confederate flag from the State House dome to a monument in front of the capital building. South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges signed the bill into law.
The NAACP has called for and imposed a tourism boycott of the Palmetto State for the past decade as it seeks to have the flag removed altogether from public property.
Some felt the NAACP's boycott might end up harming the people the organization claims to represent but reports say there has not been any noticeable decline in tourism throughout the first decade of the new century.