The North Carolina chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a lawsuit against the State of North Carolina on Monday over the decision to stop issuing license plates featuring the Confederate flag.
The state’s Division of Motor Vehicles discontinued the specialty plates in January, citing their potential offensive nature of the symbolism.
Frank Powell, a spokesman for the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said officials never discussed the move with the group or suggested any alternatives.
“They just cut us off without warning, after what, 23 years without a problem,’ Powell said.
A statement by the DMV is January said they would work with the group for a viable solution. The agency issues a range of specialty plates featuring the logos of clubs and non-profit groups, but has since scaled production for some including SCV.
“The battle flag, carried by some soldiers of the Confederacy of Southern states who lost the American Civil War in the 1860s, is now viewed by many as a symbol of the legacy of slavery and racial segregation. But the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and other contemporary Southern groups say it is an emblem of their regional heritage.”
A national movement to remove Confederate symbols picked up steam across the country after the 2015 shooting of nine Black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The convicted shooter was an avowed white supremacist who used the flag in his online postings. The flag was brought by one individual into the U.S. Capitol during the violent riot of January 6th.
More than 160 Confederate monuments and symbols were removed in 2020, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. NASCAR banned the flag from its events and properties entirely last season.
“Any state that allows the Confederate battle flag to represent it on a specialty license plate, or in any public space for that matter, chooses to promote white supremacy over the ideals of an inclusive democracy,” SPLC said in a statement.