SUMMERVILLE, S.C. — A year ago, dozens marched to protest the Confederate flag that a white woman flew from her porch in a historically black Southern neighborhood. After someone threw a rock at her porch, she put up a wooden lattice. That was just the start of the building.
Earlier this year, two solid 8-foot-high wooden fences were built on either side of Annie Chambers Caddell’s modest brick house to shield the Southern banner from view.
Late this summer, Caddell raised a flagpole higher than the fences to display the flag. Then a similar pole, with an American flag, was placed across the fence in the yard of neighbor Patterson James, who is black.
One hundred and fifty years after the Civil War began about 20 miles away in Charleston Harbor, fights continue over the meaning of the Confederate flag. Some see it as a symbol of slavery and racism; others like Caddell say it’s part of their Southern heritage.
“I’m here to stay. I didn’t back down, and because I didn’t cower the neighbors say I’m the lady who loves her flag and loves her heritage,” said the 51-year old Caddell, who moved into the historically black Brownsville neighborhood in the summer of 2010. Her ancestors fought for the Confederacy.
Last October, about 70 people marched in the street and sang civil rights songs to protest the flag, while about 30 others stood in Caddell’s yard waving the Confederate flag.
Opponents of the flag earlier gathered 200 names on a protest petition and took their case to a town council meeting where Caddell tearfully testified that she’s not a racist. Local officials have said that she has the right to fly the flag, while her neighbors have the right to protest. And build fences