North Texas Daily

155th anniversary of Confederate flag draws locals to the Square

155th anniversary of Confederate flag draws locals to the Square

March 05
21:00 2016

Jynn Schubert | Staff Writer

@JynnWasHere

Members of the Denton Sons of Confederate Veterans met at the Square Saturday to pay tribute to fallen soldiers and to celebrate the 155th anniversary of the Confederate flag.

Though expected to become an annual event on the Square, this is the first time the group has met in Denton to celebrate Confederate flag day, which they normally celebrate in Fort Worth.

Members of the Denton Sons of Confederate Soldiers gather around the memorial on the Square.

Members of the Denton Sons of Confederate Soldiers gather around the memorial on the Square.

Confederate relics — particularly the flag — have again taken center stage in the past year in a debate over institutional racism and southern pride in the United States. For Denton, the Confederate soldier statue on the Square has been the anchor for local discussion on the issue.

“First things first, we’re not a race group,” Gary Bray, who said he was a group leader, said. “We come out here to celebrate our heritage. We’re all blood related to confederate soldiers. They were required by their state governments to fight for their home, and they gave their lives. We honor their sacrifice.”

Last summer, “This Is Racist” was spray painted in red on the statue. It followed the killing of nine worshipers inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which prompted a renewed debate in Denton, led by county NAACP president Willie Hudspeth.

“We met here because we’re from the North Texas area,” Bray said. “We have a Sons of the Confederacy camp right here in Denton.”

The Sons of the Confederate Veterans were met with stares and outraged tweets from people walking around the Square, where just a week before, Hudspeth and others met to rally support for the statue’s removal and to question the lack of memorials for black lives.

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