This week it was reported that the Confederate flag, which was removed following the 2015 murder of nine parishioners during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, went on display at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. This would be good news, but for the fact that the display makes no reference to the events leading to its removal.
That’s right. The only information accompanying the flag is a tag with the following information: “This is the last reproduction Confederate battle flag to fly on the State House grounds, taken down from the pole behind the Confederate Soldier’s Monument on Friday, July 10, 2015.”
Issues surrounding the eventual display of this flag surfaced after its removal from the State House in July 2015. The most pressing question was whether sufficient funds would be provided by the state to install an exhibit that told the complete story of the flag. The current display cost a meager $1,400.
There is no question that the lack of funds is an issue here, but it strains credulity to suggest that nothing more could be done. At the least, two or three additional sentences that reference Dylann Roof, his goal of starting a race war, and a reference to the victims would not have significantly stretched their budget.
Given the failure to notify the public that the flag was on display and the display itself it is clear that the museum staff hoped to avoid upsetting certain constituencies and controversy altogether.
That is unfortunate. The result is not only a failure in their mission to educate the general public, but it is also a betrayal of the Charleston Nine.