On Saturday October 8, several members of The Sons of Confederate Veterans held a small ceremony to replace the confederate flags on the graves of several Confederate Civil War veterans at the Old Yellow Dirt Baptist Church Cemetery.
The cemetery is located in the middle of the Georgia Power owned Plant Wansley in Heard County and requires entrance through the Georgia Power security gates to gain access.
The flags were subsequently removed by Georgia Power employees. A spokesperson for Georgia Power, Konswello Monroe told HeardCitizen.com in a phone interview on Wednesday that if the flags were again replaced by the group that they would again be removed.
“Yes, we did remove those flags that were put up on October 8, and we will be monitoring. If they are put back up we will remove them once again,” said Monroe.
She reiterated an earlier statement made by fellow spokesperson Mark Williams that Georgia Power does have a policy prohibiting the flags.
Williams stated that, “As part of its policy to prevent harassment in the workplace, Georgia Power prohibits any individual on company property from displaying or circulating in the workplace any written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group based on age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. This includes any flag that the company has determined may create such a situation. While we believe we are the owners of the property where the cemetery is located, there is no question we control both access to the property and individual behavior while visiting the property. Therefore, while we will continue to allow access to the cemetery, we will enforce our company policies regarding anything that may be placed there.”
The great-grandson of J.P. Shelnutt, who is one of the deceased Civil War Veterans in the cemetery, disagrees that Georgia Power in fact even owns the cemetery property. In a portion of a letter to the editor to HeardCitizen.com, Walter Webb stated, “I do understand that Georgia Power has a rule of no Confederate flags are allowed on the property, however it is public knowledge that Georgia Power does not own my grandfather nor any of the deceased in the Old Yellow Dirt Cemetery. I believe that many are offended that someone would take an item off a grave that cannot speak nor can do it any harm. I also believe that the greater wrong is someone would disturb graves and property that does not belong to them. If Georgia Power believes they indeed own the property I would ask that they please present a copy of the deed to me.”
When asked about the deed for the cemetery property, Konswello Monroe stated that while she could not speak to the deed issue at this time, she did expect it would be clarified very soon.
In an e-mail received Friday night by HeardCitizen.com , one of the Sons of the Confederacy members who placed the flags on the graves last week , Billy Bearden, claimed that by removing the flags, Georgia Power and/or its employees were in violation of several Georgia State laws including one which reads:
“It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to mutilate, deface, defile, or abuse contemptuously the flag of the United States, the flag, coat of arms, or emblem of the State of Georgia, or the flag or emblem of the Confederate States of America by any act whatever.” –Statute 50-3-9 of the Georgia Code
Stay tuned to HeardCitizen.com as we will continue to follow and update this story as it unfolds in the coming days.