LYNCHBURG, Va. – After a year-long debate, a confederate flag is finally on display at the Lynchburg Museum.
City leaders put the process on hold to hear what the community had to say.
History buff Billy Langford traveled from Forest to the Lynchburg Museum on Monday just to see what the “Five Forks Battle Flag” was all about.
“You can learn every day. I’ve learned some things I didn’t know were going on in that period of time,” Langford said.
The Confederate flag was carried by a Lynchburg soldier during the Civil War.
Lynchburg’s Home Guard president Kevin Shroyer played a big part in getting it on display. He also helped cover the $12,000 conservation bill.
“I’m glad it worked itself out. The cooler heads prevailed, so to speak, that we can have it here in Lynchburg. And the Lynchburg community can see it right here and learn the story,” Shroyer said.
Telling all sides of the story is what the museum’s leader, Ted Dulaney, wanted to do.
“We really feel like we did our due diligence, but it took a year. It was a long process,” Dulaney said.
The decision didn’t come without some discussion.
Museum officials say they did background research, held community focus groups and received more than 3,000 online responses on whether or not to display the flag.
In the end, the general public said yes, but under some conditions.
“So, not to necessarily focus on it as an isolated artifact from 1865, but to talk about its 150-year history after that,” Dulaney said.
Other artifacts include the Medal of Honor the union soldier received after capturing the flag.
Displays also explain how the Confederate flag is associated with Jim Crow segregation.
“I think we have to be able to talk about things honestly and express our opinions, and accept other people’s opinions and learn,” Langford said.
Because in the end, museum leaders hope it will generate civil discussions between all walks of life.
The exhibit is on display until Jan. 31. The Lynchburg Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.