US President Barack Obama, during a visit to Oklahoma on Wednesday, was greeted by protesters carrying Confederate flags as his motorcade passed through Durant.
The protest was organised by an African American man, Andrew Duncomb, who names himself “the Black Rebel” Duncomb stated that he, like many others, believes the flag does not symbolise slavery but heritage.
“We don’t believe it’s a symbol of racism,” he said.
Recently a bill ordering the removal of the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s State capitol building was signed by Governor Nikki Haley. While this move was welcomed by many, it offended people who have emotional and historical ties to the slavery supporting Confederate States of America.
President Obama referred to the flag as a symbol of hate and approved of South Carolina's decision to remove it from the State House grounds.
South Carolina taking down the confederate flag - a signal of good will and healing, and a meaningful step towards a better future.
— President Obama (@POTUS) July 10, 2015
The decision to remove the flag was taken after nine African Americans were killed at a church in Charleston, following which photos of the white suspect in the incident emerged carrying the disputed flag.
The flag represented the military forces of the secessionist southern states, known as the Confederate States of America, during the American Civil War in the 19th century. For many people, the flag represents racism because these states supported slavery.
However, the flag’s supporters say the flag is part of their cultural heritage passed down to them from their ancestors who fought in the Civil War.
“They’re blaming the racist problems on the flag and not on the real problems of America. Through the race lies the people who carry and harbor the hate inside,” Duncomb told KFOR News. Stressing that the protesters were following him, a black man, he said “Do you think that any of them are racists?"