Walmart to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jun 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-23 08:51:43-04

The largest retailer in the United States will stop selling merchandise featuring the Confederate flag, according to a report from CNN.

Walmart's decision comes in the wake of controversy over the flag being displayed at government buildings in South Carolina, where nine people were killed inside an historically black Charleston church in what is believed to have been a massacre spurred by racial hatred.

The flag is considered by some to be a symbol of slavery and oppression. The governor of South Carolina announced Monday she supports removing the flag from the state capitol grounds.

State officials will have to vote on whether the flag will be removed.

Many southerners consider the Confederate battle flag a symbol of southern pride. 

On social media, some debated whether the flag should fly at half mast following the Charleston church shootings. With police calling the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting a hate crime, the flag could be ironic at either height.

Other former Confederate states incorporate the flag in some way. The Mississippi state flag includes the Confederate battle flag design.

Many southern states have made efforts to remove Confederate elements from their flags. Georgia, the last state to re-enter the union in 1870, scrubbed it from the state flag in 2003.

Texas decided against allowing a Confederate specialty license plate. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld that decision, saying the rejection did not infringe on the free speech rights of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.