Tennessee was the site of more than 400 battles and skirmishes during the Civil War. The Tennessee State Museum in Nashville includes
displays from the Civil War and Reconstruction that feature the Confederate flag, battle flags, uniforms, and weapons from the era.
Tennessee is unique in that many of its residents did not join the state when it seceded from the Union. Instead, residents in East Tennessee fought for the Union. Andrew Johnson, a Tennessee native, served as vice president under Abraham Lincoln and became president after Lincoln’s assassination in 1865.
The museum includes photographs of African-American Union soldiers. However, Tennesseans also joined the Southern cause in the war against the North. Artifacts and photographs cover the war from both sides, including the flag of Confederate raider CSS Alabama.
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Events such as an annual Confederate flag preservation benefit
held in Peytonsville help raise money for the museum.
The Confederate flag also shows up during events and protests when residents from Tennessee want to raise the flag to display their Southern pride, while noting it is not a symbol of racism. Protestors raised the Confederate flag during a visit by President Obama to Madison., according to The Tennessean
Protestors also gathered in Hendersonville to rally
in favoring of displaying the Confederate flag in the wake of division over the flag when South Carolina residents wanted it removed from statehouse grounds.
Some people want the flag remembered as part of American history
and the flag that many soldiers fought and died for, instead of its use as a symbol of hate by certain groups.
Debate over the Confederate flag in Tennessee also centers on symbols that some residents find offensive. Gov. Bill Haslam called for the removal of the Confederate flag
on specialty license plates for the state’s Sons of Confederate Veterans. There was also a call to remove a bust of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state Capitol. Forrest was also a Ku Klux Klan founder.
Confederate flags and Confederate merchandise can be found in novelty shops and stores in Nashville
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