Mike Webb, a Sons of Confederate Veterans officer, stands before an oversized Mississippi state flag and speaks about the importance of keeping the Confederate battle emblem on the flag, at a rally with other pro flag groups at the state Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

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Waving their controversial battle flag, the Sons of Confederate Veterans make their presence clear. Standing outside the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, which as of two years ago, they are no longer welcome inside of.

For more than 100 years, The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo has not only drawn in fair-goers, but it has also frequently attracted the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and their display of Confederate memorabilia.

However, in 2016, the stock show banned the battle flag, also known as the “Southern Cross,” from any official activities, including the parade.  Instead, at this year’s parade, members walked along the route handing out mini confederate flags to parade attendees.

Coined by the SCV, the slogan “heritage, not hate” contrasts the flag’s complicated history.

Mike Webb, a Sons of Confederate Veterans officer, stands before an oversized Mississippi state flag and speaks about the importance of keeping the Confederate battle emblem on the flag at a 2016 rally. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

According to SCV’s website, “The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South’s decision to fight the Second American Revolution… Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preserving the history and legacy of these heroes, so future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause.”

 

To students, though, the meaning of the flag that they are most familiar with is racially charged and centered around white supremacy.

“I am always a bit shocked when I see them waving their flags on the street come January and February,” senior Jack Prutting said. When asked if he saw the flag as a symbol of racism or a symbol of history: “Racism, for sure”.

Having observed the display while stopped at a red light, first-year student Natalie Zimits said she felt uncomfortable.

“It was extremely awkward sitting in the car watching people of different races walk across the street with their children towards the flags and signs,” Zimits said. “I can only imagine how they felt.”