In the far eastern part of Louisiana near the border with Mississippi, a few miles north of the City of Hammond, is the small town of Amite City. This portion of Louisiana is home to a number of hate groups, and 45 miles to the east is the city of Bogalusa where the last “classical lynching” of the Jim Crow Era occurred. Recently, House Majority Whip Congressman Steve Scalise, who once represented this area before the 2010 redistricting, was forced to apologize for his associations with members of a Neo-Nazi organization which included David Duke.
This portion of Louisiana which is bordered to the north and east by Mississippi has had a long history of racism, and was one of the areas where lynchings were frequent, unlike the Acadiana region where the practice was much less common.
Louisiana as a whole was no stranger to the violence against African-Americans which swept the South from the end of Reconstruction until the Civil Rights Era. Out of the total killings attributed to racism during this time period, only Georgia and Mississippi had more lynchings than Louisiana. In fact, the KKK is still active in southeastern Louisiana and said to be responsible for a murder in Bogalusa as recently as 2008.
While lynchings are a thing of the South’s painful past, the recent massacre of churchgoers in Charleston, SC is a reminder that racial hatred is still alive and kicking. The Confederate flag which flies at South Carolina’s capitol building has received the majority of the attention, but it is also present in other forms throughout the South, including the town of Amite on police vehicles.
There’s no mistaking the pattern of the Confederate flag which is emblazoned in the logo on police cruisers, and a petition has been created to ask the city to remove this reminder of the opposition to the end of segregation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The petition, created by Jade Patton of New Orleans, states the following:
It has come to the attention of the community that decal adorning the side of Amite City Police vehicles bares a striking resemblance to the flag known commonly to represent the “Old South”. In light of the act of terrorism on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church earlier this week as well as arising discussions about “racial wallpapering”, pressure on South Carolina and Walmart’s decision to pull all confederate flag merchandise from its stores now is a good time to take a closer observation and promote discussion about the symbolism allowed to decorate the community. There are many controversial opinions on what this flag represents to members of the community. To some it is “southern pride” but to many others it is a painful reminder of racial issues that still run rampant not only in the small town of Amite but the country as a whole. (Source)
This isn’t about heritage instead of hate, as many people have tried to claim. This is another tacit reminder to minorities that while the federal government may view everyone as equal under the law, white power still rules at the local level – especially if you’re in Amite, Louisiana.
While displaying the Confederate flag, the Nazi swastika, or any other banner is within the rights of private citizens under the First Amendment, none of these belong on government property, including police vehicles.
Feel free to contact the Amite City government and politely let them know how you feel about their police vehicles displaying what appears to be the Confederate flag.
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