Group wants Confederate flags to fly in every county in North Carolina

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Picture a 20-by-30-foot Confederate battle flag flying 80 feet in the air above Triad highways.

Members of the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans want to see one of these "mega flags" in every county in the state.

“Our single purpose in anything we do, including raising these flags, is to honor our Confederate ancestors. It’s our sworn duty and our sole motivation," said Kevin Stone, Commander of the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Stone told FOX8 many people mistakenly think this is a new movement, after an SVC camp raised a Confederate flag on private property off of I-40 in Burke County this weekend. The flag cost about $7,000.

Members of the camp said they raised the flag in honor of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate Army general and leader of the Ku Klux Klan. His version of the flag flies without a center star.

Stone says it's part of a project years in the making called "Flags Across the Carolinas." There are already two others flying on I-95 near Fayetteville and south of I-40 in Newton.

“It’s not just I-40, per se," Stone said. "We’re planning on raising flags wherever we’re able to acquire property. We’ve got many offers and leads on new sites.”

We asked him if those new locations include anywhere in the Triad.

“We generally don’t announce where we’re going to put flags up in advance, so I’m not at liberty to say right now," he said.

Stone says that's the ultimate goal, and there are already people on board.

“I know there’s always going to be some people who are against it, but we’re getting overwhelming support," he said.

But others in the Triad have a big problem with the movement.

“As a white person, it’s a symbol of hate to me. It’s embarrassing that we’re still talking about this," said Emma Mieden, the secretary for the High Point Branch of the NAACP.

Members of the High Point Branch of the NAACP denounced the Flags Across the Carolinas movement and what the Confederate flag stands for.

“Now, we know it’s just a symbol, but it represents an attitude. It represents a culture, and it’s a culture that our country has long had and needs to be tired with," said Pastor Brad Lilly, with the High Point Branch of the NAACP.

Stone says as long as they can raise the money and find private property to fly on, they'll keep moving forward.

“It’s part of our history. There are places for it in museums and cemeteries and things like that," Mieden said.

Stone says he hopes the SCV and its critics can find some common ground.

“Most everyone honors their ancestors," Stone said. "That’s what we’re trying to do, is make sure our ancestors are remembered in an honorable fashion.”

“While [the flags] weren’t intended to be symbols of hate, they have been adopted into symbols of hate. That’s what they’re used to represent now,” Pastor Lilly said.

This isn't the first time a group has tried to fly Confederate flags across the state.

In 2016, a group called Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County started fundraising for a similar project.

We asked them if that project is still in the works, but they did not get back to us.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.