School removes Confederate battle flag and lynching murals

Facebook user calls use of flag "racist" and calls for it to be taken down

South Cumberland Elementary School /

A painting of a Confederate battle flag and a controversial mural depicting a lynching have both been removed from the walls of a Tennessee school gymnasium.

The offending mural depicts a white man, dressed in blue, hanging from a rope tied to a tree branch. Another person was standing close by, in a red jersey, and holding a Confederate battle flag.

While it is unclear how long the artwork has been inside the South Cumberland Elementary School, Friday, a concerned parent, made his grievance public.

“Germany does not display Nazi symbols. This is not heritage, it is racism,” David Clark wrote on a Facebook post.

“No action has been planned or taken as of today so I am asking people to call and let them know in a respectful manner, how you feel about these racist symbols being on full public display where children can see them.”

In under 24 hours the post had approximately 500 comments and more than 200 shares. Later that same day, the flag was gone and the mural was repainted minus the depiction of the lynching.

These murals are in South Cumberland Elementary in Crossville. They are both in one public school elementary gym where…

Posted by David Clark on Friday, March 2, 2018

“Concerns regarding graphics in our gymnasium have been dealt with by removing the rebel flags painted on the wall, and by modifying the mural on the wall as well,” school principal Darrell Threet said in a statement to CNN.

“I guarantee you the black children noticed it, and the white children don’t need to see this either,” Clark told the news network.

“Removing it didn’t seem like a priority… but white supremacy in this country is becoming too organized and too emboldened to ignore something like this in our schools,” he said. “I am glad they got to painting, but I am not sure why they ever wanted lynching a part of their school spirit.”

Some Facebook users have expressed disappointment in the removal of the artwork, citing it as “unpatriotic” and disrespectful of their Southern heritage.

“It’s part of our heritage and how they were brought up so I just don’t have a problem with flying the rebel flag,”Crossville resident Wendy Reed told CNN affiliate WZTV. “Kid hanging that would bother me, but sometimes I think we just make it bigger than it needs to be.”