Andrew Young: Fights over Confederate symbolism are ‘a mistake’

Former Mayor, Andrew Young speaks on stage at the Delta and Atlanta Public Schools special event on July 20, 2017 at the Delta Flight Museum. Together, APS and Delta aim to improve the quality of education, with a focus on literacy, for the next generation. Chad Rhym/ Chad.Rhym@ajc.com

Fellow civil rights veterans Andrew Young and C.T. Vivian were at Paschal’s on Wednesday morning to endorse Ceasar Mitchell, the Atlanta City Council president, in this fall’s race for mayor.

Before we move away from that topic, let us note that Young, the former Atlanta mayor and United Nations ambassador, said he wanted to endorse Mitchell eight years ago – but his Howard University ties to Kasim Reed trumped that impulse.

The topic of Charlottesville quickly reared its head. A New York Times writer cited laws in some states, including this one, that prevent local communities from bringing down Confederate monuments. He asked Young and Vivian if they would endorse acts of civil disobedience that targeted the statues.

The reporter probably didn’t get the answer he expected from Young. Which, while he didn’t mention her by name, also might have been directed at state Rep. Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor who on Tuesday called for the massive carving of Confederate leaders to be scrubbed from Stone Mountain.

Said Young:

“I think it’s too costly to refight the Civil War. We have paid too great a price in trying to bring people together…

“I personally feel that we made a mistake in fighting over the Confederate flag here in Georgia. Or that that was an answer to the problem of the death of nine people – to take down the Confederate flag in South Carolina.”

Specifically, Young was speaking of Gov. Roy Barnes’ decision to pull down the 1956 state flag that prominently featured the Confederate battle emblem. The move was a primary reason he lost his bid for re-election, split the state Democratic party, and ushered in the current season of Republican rule. Said Young:

“It cost us $14.9 billion and 70,000 jobs that would have gone with the Affordable Care Act – which we probably would have had if we hadn’t been fighting over a flag…

“It cost of us the health of our city because we were prepared to build a Northern Arc, 65 miles away from the center of the city of Atlanta – an outer perimeter that would have been up and running now, if we had not been fighting over the flag.

Read the rest at: Confederate symbolism

 

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