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A Changing City In Western North Carolina Battles Over Confederate Flag

At recent town meetings in Canton, NC, most residents who spoke expressed opposition to a proposed policy that would ban Confederate flags from town parades. (Pictured Southern Heritage Confederate Flag Rally demonstrators in Washington, DC.)
Elvert Barnes
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At recent town meetings in Canton, NC, most residents who spoke expressed opposition to a proposed policy that would ban Confederate flags from town parades. (Pictured Southern Heritage Confederate Flag Rally demonstrators in Washington, DC.)

Alderman Ralph Hamlett wants symbols of hate and racism to be banned from parades in his town of Canton, North Carolina.

Smoky Mountain News Staff Writer Cory Vaillancourt talks to host Frank Stasio about how changing demographics in a small western North Carolina town sparked a debate over public display of the confederate flag.The idea stemmed from complaints he received about the presence of Confederate flags at Canton’s Labor Day Parade earlier this year.  

And at this week’s Christmas parade, the Confederate flag was once again flying high as part of two floats, and flyers from a white supremacist group were stapled to wooden utility poles along the parade route. At recent town meetings, most residents who spoke expressed support for allowing Confederate flags in parades.

Smoky Mountain News Staff Writer Cory Vaillancourt talks with host FrankStasioabout how the debate speaks to the changing makeup of the town. 

Copyright 2017 North Carolina Public Radio

Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things (hyperlink), a show that explores North Carolina through conversation. Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards. Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.