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George Floyd’s Uncle Calls on His Town’s Cops to Remove Confederate Flag from Uniforms

Protestors this week are toppling statues of historical racists Christopher Columbus and Jefferson Davis. Perhaps their next action will be to travel to Gettysburg, South Dakota, to rip the racist patches off the cops’ uniforms.

George Floyd’s uncle Selwyn Jones, a longtime South Dakota resident, moved to Gettysburg three years ago and runs a business there. He says the global uproar over his black nephew’s murder at the hands of white police should prompt the Gettysburg police Department to remove the racist traitor flag of the Confederacy from its uniforms:

Selwyn Jones said Tuesday that he has friends who are police officers in Gettysburg and that the logo is something he’s “sure will change now with all the things going on in the world.”

“I’m a crusader for change,” said Jones, a hotel owner who recently attended a peaceful walk in Rapid City commemorating his nephew’s life. “I’ll see if we can figure out a way to make a change in that. It will change.” [Morgan Matzen, “George Floyd’s Uncle Wants Gettysburg to Remove Confederate Flag from Police Logo,” Rapid City Journal, 2020.06.10].

Gettysburg mayor Bill Wuttke recycles his worn-out, ignorant tropes about the Confederate flag standing for his heritage, not his racism. Yet Wuttke’s claims of heritage are thin:

Wuttke, who has been mayor since 2012 and was a city councilman before that, said he was born and raised in South Dakota and doesn’t have any family members who served in the Civil War or fought for the Confederacy.

The town, he said, was founded in 1883 by veterans from both the Confederate and Union sides of the Civil War.

A historian from the Dakota Sunset Museum, Mary Carol Potts, said her records show only one Confederate soldier homesteaded in Gettysburg: William Epling.

Potts said a book in the museum that details Civil War veterans who settled in Potter County has about 40 pages of names of Union soldiers [Matzen, 2020.06.10].

Come on, Gettysburg! Get out of the 19th century. If NASCAR can acknowledge that the Confederate flag is inappropriate to “providing a welcoming and inclusive environment” (that’s corporate-speak for, “It’s racist”), so can you.

George Floyd’s family isn’t asking for much. They and the millions of protestors they have roused just want police to take their knees off black men’s necks. And in Gettysburg, they’d like cops to stop wearing racism on their sleeves.

10 Comments

  1. Korey Jackson 2020-06-11

    Cory,

    Your referenced CapJournal article states that the Gettysburg police patch was just designed in 2009, by an artist in South Carolina.

    I am not aware of any South Carolina police department patch design incorporating the Confederate flag (or the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia).

  2. Chris S. 2020-06-11

    “The reason it was put on there has nothing to do with racism. It has to do with our heritage,” Wuttke said.

    Ah yes, “heritage.” In the Upper Midwest, heart of the old confederacy. And the Noble Lost Cause of wearing a racist traitor emblem on your town’s uniforms.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-11

    Korey, you recognize an important local cultural point: Gettysburg didn’t recognize that vital part of its heritage in this fashion for over a hundred years of its existence. Not until 2009, when President Barack Obama was in his first year in the White House, did Gettysburg’s passion for this portion of its “heritage” manifest itself.

  4. Debbo 2020-06-11

    Why would Gettysburg or anywhere else want to display the Loser flag? Weird.

  5. Dana Hanna 2020-06-12

    The Confederate battle flag is the American swastika.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-12

    Now there goes Mr. Hanna trying to marginalize my German heritage….

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