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Racism Represent: Confederate Flag Maker Startled by Sales Increase

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A small flag-making company in the US has witnessed a dramatic increase in orders for Confederate flags, apparently following deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month.

Belinda Kennedy, the owner of Alabama Flag & Banner, a small Huntsville company, attributes the spike in orders to the escalating controversy over the removal of statues and monuments commemorating Confederate figures in the US southeast.

Aug. 11, 2017, image made from a video provided by Vice News Tonight, Christopher Cantwell attends a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va - Sputnik International
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Kennedy suggests that a majority of her customers claim that they are angered by what they see as attempts to revise the country's history and — similar to the fear of gun owners that increased safety regulations may prevent the purchase of beloved firearms — worry that soon they may not be able to acquire the flag.

According to a CBS News report, major US flag makers stopped producing Confederate flags two years ago after a 22-year-old white supremacist man shot and killed nine black people inside a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina. Top US retailers such as Amazon and Wal-Mart also stopped selling the flags following the tragedy.

According to Kennedy, dealing with the fallout of the Charleston church massacre shows that removing statues and flags is not the solution to America's institutionalized racism.

"If the intent is to combat racism, that's clearly not going to do it, because we did all that two years ago shortly after [the white supremacist killer] shot all those poor innocent people in the church. And I think we have a bigger racial divide than what we did two years ago," she told CBS MoneyWatch.

Since 2015, Kennedy's little company has sold an average of 600-800 Confederate flags annually. Following the deadly August 11-12 rally in Charlottesville, Kennedy reported that she received over 100 orders in a single day, and orders are not slowing down, forcing the shop to extend hours to meet the demand. Kennedy's Confederate flags can cost between $93 and $200.

On Wednesday, workers covered a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville in a black tarpaulin to symbolize mourning in the city.

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