America’s last Confederate flag maker sees another surge from ‘angry’ customers after Charlottesville
An Alabama company that may be the last in the U.S. to make Confederate flags can barely keep up with demand after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
Alabama Flag & Banner started making the flags two years ago, after retailers pulled Confederate flags following the murders of nine black worshipers at a South Carolina church by a racist gunman, reported AL.com.
Major flag manufacturers stopped making the historical banners, but the Huntsville-based company filled the gap for hundreds of U.S. retailers that still stocked the flags.
“After the church shooting, Amazon and Walmart stopped selling it and people were afraid they wouldn’t be able to buy it,” said longtime owner Belinda Kennedy, “and then you started seeing streets renamed, schools being renamed, mountains being renamed — and then people started getting angry, and then there’s another surge.”
The Charlottesville rally, where a counter-protester was killed by a neo-Nazi sympathizer, has prompted another contentious debate about Confederate flags and memorials, and Kennedy said that’s boosted sales.
Her company has sold an average of 600 to 800 Confederate flags since 2015, but Kennedy has gotten more than 100 orders in one day since the violent clash two weeks ago.
“Everybody’s got a different reason,” Kennedy said. “By and large, I think people are afraid they may not be able to get it one day.”
Alabama Flag & Banner employees seven or eight seamstresses, some of whom are Hispanic, making flags — although Kennedy has not had to hire additional workers.
Kennedy’s ancestors fought for the Confederacy and she’s a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy, but she says the flag isn’t a symbol of racist hate.
“When you’ve got people like the Ku Klux Klan and these neo-Nazi groups, the white supremacists, when they hijack the flag, that should be a crime, because that’s not what the flag is about,” Kennedy said. “But that’s what makes people so vehemently, adamantly opposed to the flag.”