NASCAR distances itself from Confederate flag, but some New Jerseyans still fly it

News 12's Brian Donohue drove around New Jersey looking for some Confederate flags.

News 12 Staff

Jun 13, 2020, 12:25 AM

Updated 1,409 days ago

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NASCAR made headlines this week with the announcement that the organization would no longer allow Confederate flags to be displayed at events. The company said, it “runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment."
This comes as statues honoring Confederate soldiers have been taken down across the country.
Those who support flying the Confederate flag say that the flag represents the heritage and history of the South. But News 12 New Jersey’s Brian Donohue says he often wonders why some New Jersey residents fly Confederate flags – especially in a northern state where 6,000 people died fighting for the Union Army during the Civil War.
Donohue drove around New Jersey looking for some Confederate flags. He says that after 11 minutes of driving past Great Adventure in Jackson Township he came across one – although this particular flag was actually half Confederate flag and half American flag.
There is now one less Confederate flag flying in New Jersey. It used to fly at the home of Jimmy and Bette Conover, of Lake Hopatcong.
The Conovers say that they used to rotate between the American flag and the Confederate flag. The couple are both New Jersey natives, but Jimmy spent four years in Charleston, South Carolina, and says that he fell in love with “the southern way of life.”
The Conovers say that they do not see the flag as offensive, and did not understand why even NASCAR now agrees that it should go. They have flown the Confederate flag for years, along with a flag supporting President Donald Trump. They say that it often gets a thumbs up from boaters who pass by.
Photos: Protests Across New Jersey
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“Many people stop and say ‘Trump’ and ‘Love the other flag too,’” says Betty.
But it is clear that not everyone in the Garden State loves the flag. Donohue says that he was tipped off about the Conovers from another New Jersey resident who was upset about the flag.
That resident declined to be interviewed, saying that they were afraid of the Conovers and other people who share their views.
The Conovers only recently took down the Confederate flag after learning that a Black Lives Matter protest would be taking place nearby.
“We definitely did [take the flag down] because they scared the [expletive] out of us. They were down in the parking lot yelling, ‘Black Lives Matter,'” says Betty. “…The rumor was [the protest] was going to come from Newark, Livingston, Paterson and we had the cops tell us, ‘Take it down.’”
The Conovers say that for now, they will only fly the American flag.
New Jersey officials removed the Mississippi state flag from a row of state flags on display at Liberty State Park last year because that flag includes a Confederate emblem.
 


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