The Sons of Confederate Veterans have found themselves amid another battle to keep their official emblem displayed- this time, in the City of Reidsville in Tattnall County.
The City of Reidsville Tuesday removed the official Sons of Confederate Veterans emblem signs that denote the monthly meetings appearing on the four ‘Welcome to Reidsville!’ civic organization banners.
The decision came following voiced complaints from Reidsville City Councilman Curtis Colwell. Colwell voiced his concerns to Councilman Virgil Duckworth who oversees the roads and streets in the city. Duckworth allegedly called a city employee to order the removal of the signs Tuesday afternoon. Concerned, the city employee contacted Mayor Sydney Clifton who seconded the directive to remove the signs.
Commander of the Tattnall Invincibles Tommy Wallace, a chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said he didn’t even know anything about the controversy until his trip to work Wednesday morning where he saw the empty space where the sign used to be.
When he spoke with AllOnGeorgia Wednesday morning, Wallace said, “I’m upset because what’s right is right. Our emblem, which doesn’t even have a flag on it, is protected by federal patent law. We are a civic organization and it’s the same logo protected by the state for license plate tags.”
Wallace also mentioned that a group previously tried to have the emblem removed from the state license tags, but was unsuccessful.
“We are active in the community and we are all about preserving the history. We go to schools and talk to students, we travel around and we do reenactments for the community. We aren’t the Klan or the skinheads. We are all about history.”
The sign placements were approved by former Mayor Eddie Rewis and the past council. The signs are placed in the right of way on state highways, the hardware and signs are purchased by the civic organization, and the actual display sign that houses the smaller signs is owned by Rotary.
The position of the Tattnall chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Tattnall Invincibles, per a legal team, is that the signs were under a verbal contract put in place by a council vote. As far as they’re concerned, the City of Reidsville is currently breaching that contract.
Some of the biggest pushback is stemming from the decision to remove the signs without a second vote by council or even a discussion of the issue. “They never called us. They didn’t tell us what they were doing, they just took them down. But the signs are our property,” Wallace said.
Megan Waters, a Reidsville citizen said, “This isn’t the first time that a complaint has been made about the signs. Just take them all down since they all represent some form or fashion of discrimination. Or for goodness sakes, at least have a meeting about it and allow it to be voted upon.”
Wallace and member Attriss Nail both spoke with Mayor Clifton Wednesday morning, who said he would speak with the City Attorney, Van Cheney, and report back by the end of the business day. Wallace said if the signs are not put back up, and the other civic organisational signs remain, the SCV will move forward with the help of the Georgia chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the legal team.
“We’re not bullies. We just want what’s right. And they’re discriminating against us by taking the signs down and leaving the others up.”