Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) on Thursday urged his colleagues to defeat a set of amendments launched the night before to undo restrctions on displaying the Confederate flag on federal grounds.
“I rise to express the utter outrage of the Congressional Black Caucus regarding the Calvert amendment,” he began, citing the ammendment sponsored by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA).
In a surprise move on Wednesday, House Republicans scheduled a vote for Thursday to stop amendments to the Interior spending bill that would restrict the flag’s display on federal land, including cemeteries.
“Don’t Republicans understand that the Confederate battle flag is an insult to 40 million African Americans and to many other fair-minded Americans?” he said.
“The Confederate battle flag, Mr. Speaker, is intended to defend a dark period of American history. A period when four million blacks were held as slaves. Held as property, as chattel, not as human beings.”
Butterfield laid out a brief history of the Civil War and the violence that followed, carried out by those who embraced the battle flag as a symbol of white supremacy. He ended by urging his colleagues to defeat the Calvert ammendment, or for it to be withdrawn.
“This Congress should not pass any legislation today or any other day that would embolden those who continue to hold racist beliefs,” Butterfield said. “The Calvert amendment is misguided and it emboldens bigotry.”