‘Any stand-alone depictions of Confederate flags have no place in park stores …’
FRISCO — The national debate over the Confederate battle flag has spurred the National Park Service to remove souvenirs and other items featuring the flag from national park bookstores and gift shops.
National Park Service director Jonathan B. Jarvis said the murders of nine church members at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which is near Fort Sumter National Monument, galvanized a national discussion that includes symbols and relics from our nation’s past such as the Confederate Battle Flag.
“As that discussion spread across the country,” Jarvis said, “one of our largest cooperating associations, Eastern National, began to voluntarily remove from the park stores that it manages any items that depict a Confederate flag as its primary feature. I’ve asked other cooperating associations, partners and concession providers to withdraw from sale items that solely depict a Confederate flag.”
“We strive to tell the complete story of America,” Jarvis said of the agency’s reputation for telling difficult parts of our history. “All sales items in parks are evaluated based on educational value and their connection to the park. Any stand-alone depictions of Confederate flags have no place in park stores.”
In the telling of the historical story, Confederate flags have a place in books, exhibits, reenactments, and interpretive programs. Books, DVDs, and other educational and interpretive media where the Confederate flag image is depicted in its historical context may remain as sales items as long as the image cannot be physically detached. Confederate flags include the Stainless Banner, the Third National Confederate Flag, and the Confederate Battle Flag.
Jarvis said, “All superintendents and program managers will personally evaluate which sales items fit this description, have educational value, and are appropriate for the site.”