Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said she was present at a ceremony in which the Georgia flag was burned.
That flag contained the confederate, or so-called “rebel” insignia, and was Georgia’s official flag until 2001.
Abrams’ opponents have used the 1992 flag burning as a political bludgeon to hammer her with.
A news article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution at the time reportedly shows a photo of a young (and skinny) Abrams, who was a Spellman freshman at the time, with other students from area colleges with a caption that reads:
“[The student protesters] said the Georgia flag symbolizes a brutal time in the history of African Americans, and they demanded that the Legislature restore the original Georgia flag: the state seal superimposed on a field of blue,” the AJC article reads.
The old photo and article was released to social media a day before Abrams takes on her Republican opponent in a televised debate.
Georgia’s state flag for decades contained rebel insignia. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that then-Governor Roy Barnes removed the symbol from the state’s flag.
Some political watchers said that move costed Barnes the election in 2001 in a then much-less diverse state.
Today, Black Georgians comprise nearly 40% of Georgia’s population, and polls have shown a clear majority of Black voters oppose confederate memorials and institutions.
It was no different in 1992, when many Black Georgians held rallies, lobbied political leaders, and staged protests in support of removing the state’s confederate images, which harkon to the slavery era.
Nevertheless, Republicans are presently using Abrams’ involvement in the 26 year old flag burning as a tool to promote her as “extreme”.
Abrams is seeking to become the nation’s first Black female governor.
Meanwhile, the Republican nominee, Brian Kemp, who also oversees state elections as Secretary Of State, has been criticized for purging about 53,000 voters from the polls–more than 70% of them Black. Critics have accused Kemp and Republicans of suppressing Black votes in order to steal the historic election.
The election is November 6th but early voting is currently underway in Georgia.
Recent polls have shown a neck and neck race.