RALEIGH, N.C. —
"I thought, wouldn't it be wonderful to recreate this?" Hardison said. "I think we were all thinking along the same vein. ... The Capitol is both a working seat of government, in that the governor and his staff has his office there. But it is also a museum."
Hardison pointed out that the national flag used by the Confederate government, with its circle of white stars and red and white stripes, is still flown over the State Capitol dome each year on Confederate Memorial Day. The more familiar blood-red battle flag, featuring a blue "X'' studded with white stars, was used by the rebel military.
David Goldfield, a history professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and author of the book "Still Fighting the Civil War," said the battle flag can hold starkly different meanings depending on a person's social perspective.
"The history of the Confederate battle flag, how it was designed and formulated, how it has been used through the years, clearly states that it is a flag of white supremacy," Goldfield said. "I know current Sons of Confederate Veterans would dispute that, saying 'Hey, I'm not a racist.' But the fact remains that the battle flag was used by a country that had as its foundation the protection and extension of human bondage."
The NAACP's Barber said the McCrory administration eventually made the right call, but questioned how the decision to hang the flag was made in the first place.
"A flag should represent a banner of unity, not division," Barber said. "A substantive symbol and sign of our best history, not our worse. We cannot deny history but neither can we attempt to revision it in a way that glorifies the shameful and attempts to make noble that which is ignoble."