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Panhandle county clings to Rebel emblem

©Associated Press

August 29, 2002


DE FUNIAK SPRINGS -- Walton County commissioners refuse to haul down the Confederate battle flag from a Civil War memorial on the courthouse lawn.

DE FUNIAK SPRINGS -- Walton County commissioners refuse to haul down the Confederate battle flag from a Civil War memorial on the courthouse lawn.

The unanimous vote Tuesday rejected a request by the NAACP.

"We say that it's a flag of hatred," said Sabu Williams, an NAACP chapter leader. "Put it in a place of historical value, not in front of a place of justice."

Nelson Winbush, 73, the black grandson of a Confederate veteran, disagreed and urged commissioners to keep the banner flying.

Winbush displayed a slightly worn battle flag he said had lain across the coffin of his grandfather, Lewis Napoleon Winbush, who died in 1934.

It represents history, not the degradation of his race, Winbush said.

"The war was not about slavery," he said.

The vote was the second defeat in two months for Williams in this Florida Panhandle county.

Last month the City Council in Crestview, about 30 miles west of here, refused to remove a Confederate battle flag from a memorial to William "Uncle Bill" Lundy, who was Florida's last surviving Civil War veteran when he died in 1957.

Williams said he will seek help from the national NAACP for protests at both sites.

Phillip White, spokesman for Sons of Confederate Veterans, said the De Funiak Springs flag is displayed in a proper manner as part of the memorial to those who fought and died in the Civil War.

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