Confederate Flag controversy at the New York State Capitol

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With the removal of Confederate icons sweeping across the nation, eyes have also started to turn to the New York State Capitol where two Confederate flags are still featured inside.

“We know its history, we recognize the history, but we want to get past that kind of history,” Ms. Rembert, an activist, said.

Ms. Rembert is referring to a part of the mural that hangs in the War Room in the Capitol, the two Confederate flags that are depicted above. One being clutched by a Confederate soldier as he is being shot. The other was featured prominently in the middle.

“It is history but it’s a sad history.”

In 2015, groups like the National Action Network had planned protests in New York City urging for the removal of the Confederate flags from the mural in the Capitol. Right now, only a few activists have expressed their wish to have the flags removed.

“As a nation, as a country, and as an African American having lived in the South, realizing that the Confederate flag has a meaning to our people it needs to be taken down.”

The Director of Communications at the Office of General Services was not able to go on camera at this time but did explain in a statement that the Confederate flag positioned in the laurel wreath is depicting a war trophy captured by Union soldiers:

“This mural depicts New York’s contributions to the Union cause and its triumph over the confederacy — ending slavery. One of the dying Rebels, apparently killed by a New Yorker on the battlefield, is clutching a Confederate Flag and he is falling backwards. An additional flag, which is in the arched doorway accompanying this part of the mural, and is ensconced in a laurel wreath, is depicting a war trophy captured by Union soldiers. Capturing flags as war trophies is common throughout history and it’s clear that this mural in no way honors in the confederate cause- quite the opposite actually.”

However, in 1997, the Georgia state flag featuring the Confederate X, was removed from the Capitol exhibit after much controversy and urging from lawmakers. The removal of the flag was eventually carried out by Governor George Pataki.

“We need to start to heal in this country and show that we love each other as we say that we do,” Ms. Rembert said.

There is no active movement or planned protests at this time to take down any of the Confederate flags featured in the Capitol.

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