Outside the Dodge Co. Courthouse, Eastman GA, May 4, 2011
EASTMAN -- The Confederate battle flag flew here for most of the last decade. Last month, a county commissioner proposed to remove it. Instead, the Dodge County Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 to keep it flying as part of the war memorial in front of the Dodge County courthouse, 55 miles southeast of Macon.
Now it flies constantly, padlocked to the flagpole.
"The battle flag is just another flag that flies," says Commission Chairman Dan McCranie. "It's a part of history. You know, some people view it as part of slavery. Down here in Dodge County... whether that was an issue or not, that was 150 years ago."
But the battle flag has created a stir among folks who say its presence honors Georgia's secession from the US 150 years ago.
"Why should we be arguing about a flag (in 2011)?" asks Archie Dupree, who says he was born and raised in Eastman. He says it dishonors the descendents of slaves.
McCranie says he expects the county to be sued over the flag, and claims that the county would likewise face a lawsuit if the flag was removed.
"The history of the flag... it was oppression. Seems to me like if Dodge County wants to fly it again, then they want to go back to oppression," Dupree said.