WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") strives for equality of social and economic rights of all persons by pursuing enactment of federal, state, and local laws securing civil rights; and
WHEREAS, the Confederate flag is a racially inflammatory symbol, which is undeniably rooted in slavery and racism, which was the battle flag of Robert E. Lee's Army in Northern Virginia but took on new significance in the 20th century; and
WHEREAS, in 1948, the States Rights Democratic Party, or "Dixiecrats," began to use the Confederate flag as a political symbol to show opposition to desegregating the military, and Article 4 of the Dixiecrats' 1948 platform stated, "we stand for the segregation of the races;" and the Ku Klux Klan also began using the Confederate flag as a symbol of hatred and terror directed at Afircan Americans during the 1940's and has continued to use it as a symbol of their White supremacist agenda; and
WHEREAS, in 2015, photos of the avowed white supremacist, Dylan Roof, holding a Confederate flag surfaced after he murdered nine African American church members in Charleston, South Carolina after they had welcomed into their Bible Study in a racially motivated attack. In 2017, the 'Unite the Right Rally' in Charlottesville, Virginia flooded the streets with White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan waving the Confederate flag, many armed with assault rifles and body armor resulting in the murder of Heather Heyer; and
WHEREAS, whilestudents do not shed all of their First Amendment rights when they enter school, conduct by students, in class or out of it, which "materially disrupts classwork" is not "immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech;" and
WHEREAS, hate speech in school, such as open and school-sanctioned displays of racist symbols such as the Confederate flag, creates a hostile learning environment for African American schoolchildren, frightening many of them and causing them to lose interest in education; and
WHEREAS, the Confederate flag should be shown in libraries and discussed in history classes by trained teachers to provide historical context for students to understand the flag's racist origins. This is particularly important today because, according to a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center, only 8% of high school seniors correctly identified slavery as the central cause of the Civil War. While hate crimes are on the rise in the United States, understanding of slavery and the American Civil War is in steep decline; and
WHEREAS, in 2017 the U.S. Department of Education saw a 25% increase in student racial harassment complaints from the previous year; and
WHEREAS, recently numerous school districts around the country begun to ban Confederate flag clothing and related items because student arguments led to school-wide disruptions.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP supports the prohibition of the unsupervised display of the Confederate flag in K-12 schools; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP shall transmit this Resolution to federal, state and local elected and appointed officials responsible for education policy.