Confederate flags cover capital steps, local NAACP responds

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JEFFERSON CITY - People gathered on the steps of the capital to wave confederate flags Sunday afternoon.

The group who organized the event was the Missouri chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The commander, Darrell Maples, said around 250 people made an appearance to the event that was held from 1 to 3 p.m. 

Maples said the flag rally is in response to the recent attacks on confederate and southern heritage throughout the country and Missouri.

"Well, I think the attack on all things confederate started with the situation that we had in Charleston, which has been very upsetting because its pushing out an opinion that's really not true. Earlier today, we had an African-American gentleman that is not eligible for our organization, but in his words, he said he's tired of all this backlash. So we're proud of that young man and we're proud to have him here." 

KOMU 8 News asked Maples what he thinks about people who view his organized event as a display of racism.

"I mean, they're entitled to think what they want to think," Maples said. "We can't change that. But we know its not. We know that our organization, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, is made up of all kinds of diversity. We have African Americans. We have Hispanic Americans. We have Jewish Americans and Caucasian Americans. We're proud of all of them. If their ancestors served, they're just as special as the next guy. So they're entitled to that view point, but its wrong."

The president of the NAACP Jefferson City chapter, Nimrod Chapel, issued a statement after the event.

"We understand that every American has the right to free speech," Chapel said. "Obviously, we absolutely disagree with those kinds of showings. We feel as though the confederate flag is a symbol of hate and slavery."

Chapel also said he did not think the gathering warranted any particular type of countermeasure or action and that the NAACP is currently reviewing state sponsored confederate memorials in hopes to get them removed from government property. 

The NAACP is open for everyone and promotes justice and equality.