Mark Butler is still outraged that he saw a Confederate flag in Delaware’s Fourth of July parade.
“I will be asking [Councilman Chris Jones, 1st Ward] to sponsor and introduce a resolution to city council using their ‘First Amendment Right’ to publicly express their feelings regarding the Confederate flag. I believe the Delaware community should know the position of each member regarding this matter,” he said.
Butler made a similar request at an August meeting.
He voiced his complaints to the Delaware County Commission and Delaware City Council the Monday following the parade. Some Council members said they were offended by the display and that it was inappropriate to be displayed in a parade that celebrates America’s Independence.
Council informed Butler that the Delaware County Farm Bureau was the parade organizer.
Butler, an African-American and Delaware resident of 13 years, formed a group, the Acts of Alliance, which consisted other community members voiced their displeasure to council. A protest of the flag at city hall never materialized.
Members of the group spoke against the flag at a Delaware City Schools Board of Education meeting in July. No board action was taken but it signal that group was taking an alternative approach to focus on education, Butler said at the time.
He told The Gazette earlier this month that “this was no longer an ‘Acts of Alliance’ matter.”
The flag was waved by Delaware resident Melody Wells’ 17-year-old son. The family has said the act was harmless and was to show their support for historical and religious freedoms and for veterans.
Also, the parade organizers expressed no qualms with the display at the time, she said in July.
Wells said her son continues to do charities for veterans since the incident and that they continue to get along with community members.
The Farm Bureau, which did not respond to a recent request for comment, said previously it plans to make changes to prevent the flag from being in the 2017 parade.
Debate about the flag came into the national spotlight after the June 2015 killings of nine parishioners at Charleston’s Emmanuel AME Church by a 22-year-old white male, whose pictures of him posing with the flag have circulated online. The slayings resulted in South Carolina’s government to remove the Confederate flag from its Capitol grounds after a 54-year run.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.