- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s demand to revisit the Confederate battle flag’s placement on the Statehouse grounds is sparking a national conversation beyond the emblem, with some leaders calling for statues and nicknames associated with the Confederacy to go as well.

Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said the University of Nevada, Las Vegas should consider ditching its nickname of the “Runnin’ Rebels,” which had its origins in Confederate history but has since been disassociated with the South.

And Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said his home state should talk about removing a statue of Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy’s president, from its Statehouse grounds. Mr. McConnell said Davis’s only tie to the state was that it was his birthplace.

The calls have come in the wake of last week’s shooting at an historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The suspect police have in custody has a history of association with white supremacist websites, and a photo of him with the Confederate battle flag has surfaced online.

Confederate statues dot the South, usually erected in the decades after the Civil War with plaques from grateful residents praising the soldiers who they thought defended their homes against what they saw as northern aggression.

In Virginia, the battle over the state’s heritage as the capital of the Confederacy has raged for years. On Tuesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, asked for a ruling on whether the state can rescind license plates issued to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, that bear the group’s emblem, which includes the battle flag.

SEE ALSO: Mike Huckabee: ‘I salute’ S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley on Confederate flag issue

The 1999 debate to create the license plate was heated. The state NAACP fought vigorously to prevent the plate, but one of the star witnesses in favor of the plate was a black man who was a member of the SCV, whose ancestor fought for the South, and who said the flag has been misunderstood.

While the flag debate has raged for years, the debate over statues is just beginning to develop nationally.

Davis is a particular target, with students and faculty at the University of Texas-Austin circulating a petition asking that a statue of the Confederate leader be removed from campus.

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