October 22, 2014

Sons of Confederacy Replace Flags on Graves, Georgia Power Removes Them

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.

Confederate Flag Ceremony Ga Power 051

Members of the Haralson Invincibles who replaced Confederate Flags at the Old Yellow Dirt Cemetery on October 8, 2011: (l to r) Harry Lyle, Pam Tolbert, James Tolbert, Billy Bearden, Eric Tolbert, Ernest Blevins

Confederate Flag Ceremony Ga Power 009
Confederate Flag Ceremony Ga Power 043

 

Comments

  1. Ernest Everett Blevins says:

    I find it a bit troublesome that Georgia Power can go on private property and remove flags placed by individuals and the SCV on graves to remember the service they performed in life. Georgia Power does own the property surrounding the cemetery; however, the cemetery itself is private property owned by Yellow Dirt Road Church. Check the county property records on line parcel number 043 0029. Seems to me this would be a case of trespassing and theft of flags. The flags were placed with knoweldge and concent of descendants in the cemetery.

    I will gladly be a witness since I documented the placement of the flags on the graves and if I can be deemed a party with an interest I would gladly be a complaintant although it is likely someone with the cemetery or a descendant would have to initiate a case (but I’m not a lawyer either).

    Ernest Everett Blevins
    Division Historian
    Sons of Confederate Veterans

    • Marc Robinson says:

      Mr. Blevins, I hope someone follows up on your recommendation. You obviously know that this cemetery is owned by the church, but the individual plots should also be further owned by the descendants of the family members who are buried there. If there are no cemetery restrictions on types of markers, etc. the flags if placed by graves should be considered as part of the deceased individuals marker and Georgia Power is breaking the law as you mention. I hope someone files charges on Georgia Power and does not let these bullies get away with this. Who is guilty of discrimination here? It seems to me that Georgia Power is guilty of what they claim to be against, and of all places to be guilty of discrimination, in a cemetery where men are simply being honored for their service to their state and country…their actions are shameful and criminal at the least.

  2. Calvin E. Johnson, Jr. says:

    It is not an American or Christian trait to disrespect the graves of noble soldiers. They fought for their homeland and family and deserve better respect.

    Those who remove flags from the graves of our brave Confederate ancestors should learn a little history about the War Between the States and those who stood for the noble cause of liberty and independence.

    God bless the men and women who stood up for Dixie and those today that remember their great deeds.

  3. Georgia Power’s acting like jack-booted thugs — an activity normally associated with authoritarian government bureaucracies. Government isn’t the only place where totalitarianism can be practiced, it would seem. Shame on you, Georgia Power. Your employees and policy makers should be educated enough, and have enough common sense, to know better than to substitute your opinion for other people’s intentions. Leave the freakin’ flags alone.

    • Uncle Billy says:

      Now Connie you do know that as the owners of the property the could move the cemetery and remove the remains if the so desired. You and your ilk need to pick your battles before you lose big!

      • Francis Bartow says:

        They don’t appear to own it, Uncle Bill.

        And talk about a public relations nightmare should they decide to move it…haha, dummy.

  4. As a member of the SCV in good standing I’d like to suggest the following action.

    Georgia Power is engaged in grave desecration as official policy. Demand the local District Attorney, or the local equivalent thereof, authorize the arrest and prosecution of any Georgia Power employee so engaged, and the arrest and prosecution of any involved in the planning of the conspiracy to desecrate the graves.

    Explain to the local sheriff or police that if they don’t enforce the laws against grave desecration, or vandalism, then you will do so, in a nice, but firm, way.

    Do not stand for this assault on our culture.

  5. James Price says:

    What makes Georgia Power think that they own the land that the graves lie on? When in fact they do not!! We the People need to take a stand!! God Bless The Sons Of Confederate Veterans!!

  6. Roy Butts says:

    Georgia Power is wrong on several level’s. First, the cemetery is not their “work Place”. Even if they did own the cemetery they can not restrict entry to descendant’s to those who are buried their. I have dealt with this type of problem before and even if a cemetery is on their land they have to provide entry to those wishing to visit their ancestor’s graves, and as Calvin said The people at Georgia Power need to be Educated on the true meaning of The Confederate Flag so that they are not offended.

    • Petit Sourice says:

      I would recommend trying to get Michael form League of the South to come and give a talk to any employees who are interested to discuss Southern Heritage.

  7. Eve Davenport Holder says:

    This is very distressing as I am kin to the Langley’s and Shellnut’s buried here. To think a company like GA Power has nothing better to do than abuse family cemeteries is unbelievable. To disrespect the dead is awful. It is even more terrible that they are disrespecting Southern Soldiers. This is discrimination in it’s highest form. Ga Power is a company that wants to exterminate the Southern people, our ancestors and our heritage. Keep up the fight SCV and UDC. You have many who support you in the Cause. As a member of the UDC, I have been given a priceless gift and that is my Southern Heritage. A heritage so rich that the world cannot put a price on. My Southern heritage is what GA Power wants to take away from me.
    Leave the flags alone. Let the soldiers rest in peace. They gave so much for a Cause you will never understand. But we, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren do. We will keep their honor and memory alive for future generations. GA Power you may try to take our heritage away but you will not succeed. For this is locked in our hearts. This you can never remove.

    God Bless the South!

  8. Just what you would expect from the Power Company, they are part of the government’s drive to coerce conformity in the populace.

  9. Some people see this type of activity as nothing more than a sort of hi-jinks committed by a few folks with agendas irrelevant to all but those involved. How wrong they are! When people are permitted to break the law – even low priority crimes like vandalism – without there being any official response, the stage is being set for a situation in which all “law” becomes dependent upon the desire of the government to enforce it. We see that already in the matter of illegal “immigration.” Not only does the federal government refuse to enforce its own laws, but it does everything in its power to deny the states their ability to enforce both state and even federal law.

    Once the actions of an individual or a group result in a response dictated not by the law but by the OPINION of those who are charged with ENFORCING the law, we no longer have a government of laws, but a government of men such as one finds in all tyrannies. Whether one likes or dislikes Confederate symbols is unimportant. What IS important is whether one is breaking the law and if one is, then the response should be as sure as the sunrise. Otherwise, we are a society of might makes right making decisions based upon the concept that the ends justify the means.

  10. As an SCV Compatriot, I would also think that it would be a good idea to get the Southern Legal Resource Center involved in this, because to my recollection they have already been involved in a similar case involving the removal of Confederate battleflags from graves of Confederate veterans, and have prevailed in the court’s ruling.

    Does Georgia Power’s “policy to prevent harassment in the workplace” include displays on private property that are placed there with the permission of the owners to honor “American veterans” who are designated as such by the U.S. Congress? Confederate veterans were afforded status equal to that of U.S. veterans by an act approved by the Congress of the United States on May 23, 1958, and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in accordance with Public Law 85-425, which amended the Veterans Benefit Act of 1957.

    It is a sad day in America when a public corporation such as Georgia Power can ignore and override the Federal designation of Confederate soldiers to be accorded equal status of any other American veterans. Is Georgia Power singling out Confederate veterans and their decendents for special discrimination in this instance, or is it the policy of Georgia Power to discriminate against ALL American veterans and their families by refusing to allow special honors for their dead?

  11. Jimmy L. Shirley Jr. says:

    Georgia Power forfeits the moral right to even have the name of the great State of Georgia in its name. It aught to change its name to “Marxist Power” or Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, etc., Power.
    Georgia being one of the original 11 States that acceded to the current Constitution (North Carolina and Rhode Island came along later) stood shoulder to shoulder in defence of the American way of life from 1861-65. Even into the 1980’s, Georgia stood by its Southern, American values. But now, tsk tsk tsk. SHAME ON GEORGIA POWER!! SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!!!

  12. Power companies in Georgia have all the power. They put huge power poles down Dug Gap Road in Dalton even though the entire community came out to protest. The people have no rights whatsoever when it comes to the utilities and their policies. There are too many people who don’t speak up and then it’s too late after they implement a plan.

  13. Harold Crews says:

    It is plainly evident that here in the United States we Southrons are not even permitted to remember or honour our dead. If being an American means that we must renounce our forebears, in effect bastardising ourselves, then I have no interest in being such. The bastard’s share of the American birthright does not interest me.

  14. Keith Jones says:

    Georgia Power may own the land surrounding these graves, but the individual plots were purchased by the individuals lying in them and therefore belong to the families. These graves are protected from development by law and cannot belong to Georgia Power. They are committing acts of theft and vandalism just the same as if they removed headstones. I hope that there will be a push for prosecution of these criminals.

  15. Nelson Walters says:

    This is absurd, this man fought for what he and many other young southern males in the 1860s believed in. It is NOT your right to remove this flag or ANY other flag from ANY persons grave site. I’m not a member of the SCV yet, but I guarantee the second my local SCV camp hears about this you’ll get even more support. Keep fighting for whats right.

  16. Needed to clarifiy Ernie’s first comment. The parcel number is 0043 0029. If you just search with the 043, you will come up with a “no records found” type message. 0043 0029 is owned by the power company. Although, I don’t think that their “policy” can trump GA state statute. That statute needs to be used against them in a BIG way. I also agree with the statement that the individual plots should belong to the descendants of those brave men. This could shape up to be an interesting fight, although there should be no fight at all that is needed; and I stress SHOULD.

  17. Kay Borden says:

    Let’s call it what it is, that haughty plague known as political correctness gone wild, those cultural elitists embolden by an all-to-common vile and putrid attitude of disrespect.

  18. Larry Deriso says:

    It appears that Georgia Power has violated a state Law. They should be prosecuted just like anyone else. What makes them diffrerent? Nothing.

  19. For the people that protested the power poles,,,since GAPower says no flags on what they THINK is their property,, then if they have a pole on your property and you don’t want it there,, cut it down,,they may own the pole but it is on your property,,just like them saying they own the property the graves are on,,,or have headstones made with the flag in the headstone,,

  20. As a native of Georgia, raised in Haralson County, I am appalled yet again by something going on in Georgia. I am personally disinclined to display the Confederate flag, but I honor those who fought under it, as I honor any soldier who gave his life for what he believed in. And Georgia Power’s arrogant disregard for the dead and trampling of family rights should be firmly dealt with by Georgia courts. Here in Tennessee, a lone CSA gravestone was found beside a country road. Not enough information was on it to determine its origin, but newspaper pictures and alert people found that it belonged in our neighboring Kentucky and was returned to its rightful place. Would that Georgia and Georgia Power displayed such honor and respect.

  21. BorderRuffian says:

    Power companies do have certain rights that may effect your property such as cutting trees outside their right-of-way to protect power lines. But I don’t believe desecrating a cemetery is one of those rights.

    What does the deed say? Is the cemetery mentioned? Do the families have a written right to access the cemetery?

  22. BorderRuffian says:

    Konswello Monroe, GA Power:
    “If they are put back up we will remove them once again.”

    *******

    And if they take them down…put’em up again.

    And keep doing it until they stop.

  23. Edgardus de la Vega says:

    Whoever said these wretched corporations possessed any sanctity toward culture?

    The culture of sanctity is not a part of the corporate mindset; the corporate creature only thinks about ‘markets’ and ‘production’ over ‘spirit’, ‘blood’ and ‘culture’. May the ‘Stars and Bars’ eternally wave with God. Deo Vindice.

    Southern supporter from Europe.

  24. Petit Sourice says:

    What a great opportunity to get secession on the table and in the news. A graceful bow-out from the empire.

  25. bill brocker says:

    Mr. Blevins ; As a help ,you may wish to file a formal complaint with the Sheriff and county prosecuters offices . Should they be bashful you may also file a complaint with the state attorney,s office. sic sempter tyrantis bill

  26. Wow! I find it very disturbing that GP thinks they have the right to remove anything off of any grave. Especially a fallen soilder grave, who most likely died defending their homeland. Georgia Power should be ashamed and apologize to all involved..

  27. Just curious, GA Power says they own a cemetery where bodies are known to be buried…who sold them that property? The individual families of each person buried there? I think not. Whoever arranged the transaction & got paid for it ought to be brought up on charges as well. How can you “sell” a burial ground to ANYONE? It was obvioiusly there WAY before GA Power came along. Someone needs to look up the local land records and find out if GA Power’s purchase of the land was even legal…sounds backhanded and corrupt to me.

  28. Ginger Gressett says:

    I agree with everyone who has posted and feel this is a very disturbing act by Georgia Power. Even if somehow they do own the land, what harm is a flag doing?! People leave all sorts of things on graves of their loved ones and ancestors. They still seem to have no “right” to remove objects of any kind from the gravesite of fallen soldiers. They truly should be ashamed & I hope something is done about this very soon. This matter should not be swept under the rug! I hope to see someone admit to fault and wrong doing on Georgia Power’s behalf! They owe the familes and the deceased a huge apology!

  29. Ernest Everett Blevins says:

    Georgia Power does not own the land in question, property reocrds prove it although I’m told they are reseaching it.
    There aer appaernlty two black cemeteries which were “moved” that the original site is under the lake (or so I’m told). So your point of who sells it is valid, although the direct case.
    Good news, in events on18 October the flags were restored by the descendants and the power company says they will not remove them. The situation is still being monitored, although this news is pleasing. The descendants put them back in the cemetery about 3:00 PM on 18 October and therefore the source of the restored flags is credible.

  30. Sandy Nolan Carr says:

    GA Power is so wrong for what they have done. It should be the family’s choice as to what is on the grave. If they get by with this who is to say other companies will not follow suit and try to stop us from putting up flags on other Confederate ancestors burial sites? GA power should be ashamed of what they have done. A grave is not owned by a company, it is personal property of the family of the deceased. I say the families along with the SCV should join together and sue them for desecreating the final resting place of these heroic men.

  31. red montgomery says:

    GA. POWER is owned by SOUTHERN COMPANY and I own some of their stock. That means I am part owner of this company! I want to address this GROSS NEGLIGENCE with CEO THOMAS A. FANNING. I HAVE SENT AN E-MAIL TO HIM AND AM WAITING FOR AN ANSWER. red

  32. Billy Yank says:

    So much for property rights in the south….

  33. lynn crowder maust says:

    I am a northerner (PA) by birth, but a Southron at heart….my father, William Edward Crowder, having been born in Blackstone Va and also lived in Petersburg, Va.and my gg. grandfather Joseph Wesley Crowder having owned a 500 acre plantation in the Ford, Va area til the War changed all that. I have learned a great deal of the Southern side of things (‘civil war’) over the past 8 or so years, by personal study, of great Southern history writings. Bless you in your efforts to reestablish the flags to their proper places of remembrance. I wish y’alls all sucess.
    Lynn Crowder Maust

  34. Reminds me of the Warren Zevon song, “Send Lawyers, Guns & Money!”

    Col. Mosby was a lawyer, hire him to sue Georgia Power!

  35. Paul Snell says:

    There once was a time when a man would go right back and put the flags on then grave again and then dare the sobs to take them off again. and then if they did just go out there and kick the holy hell out of them. thats what the guys lying in those graves would have done. simple as that. We arnt like that anymore because government has beat us down little by little with laws after laws continually to strip our indivigualities. I bet my spellin is bad as those poor soilders lying thise graves were. Now if the dead could speek. thats what they would have told you all.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] new business was added to include a discussion of the recent controversy at Plant Wansley involving Confederate Flags that were removed from several graves recently at the Yellow Dirt Baptist Church Cemetery by Georgia Power [...]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: