Re-enactment Soldiers Stunned by Efforts to Exclude them from Parade - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Albany

Re-enactment Soldiers Stunned by Efforts to Exclude them from Parade

Members of a Civil War re-enactment group plan to march in the city's Christmas parade on Saturday as they have done for nearly a decade, even though they were shunned by organizers.

City officials scrambled today to work out a compromise between the re-enactors who wear Confederate uniforms and the marching band at historically black Albany State University.

Band director Michael Decuir said last week that his musicians would not participate because he had a "philosophical problem" with the Confederate battle flag that the re-enactors carry in the parade.

Confederate flags have been firing passions throughout the South in recent years, with supporters arguing that they are a symbol of Southern heritage and opponents condemning them as a symbol of slavery and bigotry.

In Georgia, where the Confederate Stars and Bars were dropped from the state flag, there is still simmering unrest over the racially divisive symbol. Confederate heritage groups feel betrayed by Governor Perdue, who signed off on a state flag referendum that does not include the Confederate battle emblem.

Perdue campaigned for office promising to let voters decide on a state flag. The move won him support from Georgians angry at former Governor Roy Barnes, who led a move to shrink the divisive symbol that formerly covered two-thirds of the Georgia state flag.

Blacks account for about 65% of the 77,000 residents in Albany. A few years ago, the town moved its traditional statue of a Civil War soldier from the front of the county courthouse.

The statue now stands in a park on the outskirts of town, where the re-enactors gather on Confederate Memorial Day for speeches and the ceremonial firing of cannons and muskets.

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