A resident of Gettysburg, South Dakota is battling with his community after leading the charge to remove the Confederate flag-adorned patches from the uniforms of police officers in his town. The man also happens to be the late George Floyd's uncle.
Selwyn Jones settled in his wife's hometown of Gettysburg with a population of 1,162, bought a motel and thought he was going to enjoy a quiet life in the country. Following the death of Floyd, everything changed when Jones became personally involved in social justice.
The Star Tribune reported that hundreds of local residents took to Facebook to call for the return of the Confederate flag patches - attacking Jones, Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement in the process. A private group called "Gettysburg South Dakota FOR FREEDOM" with 342 members have used the social media forum to air their grievances about not winning the fight to keep the Confederate flag patches in play.
“If you’re offended by a piece of cloth, but think dealing drugs to kids is alright, you might be this moron,” said one post with Jones’ picture.
“What I know is power and control showed up: ‘We’re not going to do anything to change the patch because a Black guy that got murdered [has an uncle who lives] in our town,’ ” Jones said. “There’s progress in every place of the world — every nook and cranny — except in my little town.”
The town of Gettysburg was settled by Union soldiers after a victory against the pro-slavery South.
“I certainly think they reflect white supremacy ideology,” said University of St. Thomas Prof. Lisa Waldner who has studied white supremacy for 20 years. “White supremacists will say, ‘We’re not against Black people, we just don’t think Black people should get special treatment.’ Or, they’ll say, ‘We love white history.’ ”
“If someone don’t like the comments being put on there they are more than welcome to go somewhere else,” said Monty Mikkelsen, who created the Facebook group. Mikkelsen lives 60 miles away in Pierre. “These are people that are speaking their mind.”
“Sometimes I sit back and I think, ‘Where am I at?,’ you know? ‘Where am I living?’ ” Jones said. “And reality is my nephew got murdered in the middle of the street over a supposedly [fake] 20 dollar bill … but it was enough to change the whole entire world and to maybe make the world a better place.”