News footage from 1989 has surfaced which shows Morris Dees, the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization that tracks hate groups, acknowledging that the Confederate flag was part of his southern heritage.The traditional response to those who say the Confederate flag is racist is that it is about "heritage not hate."
“This is my home. I love this area. The Confederate flag that’s flying over that capitol today is just as much a part of my heritage as Dr. [Martin Luther] King’s march down 6th Avenue,” Dees tells an interviewer during the Nov. 5, 1989, dedication ceremony of the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala.
[Flashback: SPLC Founder Says Confederate Flag Is 'Part of My Heritage,' by Chuck Ross, Daily Caller, July 9, 2015]
Even after the campaign of the last few weeks, a majority of the American people see the Confederate flag as representing Southern identity, not racism [Poll: Americans say Confederate flag symbol of pride, not racism, by Kelly Cohen, Washington Examiner, July 2, 2015].