The nation's last producer of Confederate flags says it has seen an increased demand for the flags in the aftermath of the deadly Charlottesville protests.
Alabama Flag & Banner, based in Huntsville, Ala., began manufacturing the flags two years ago as retailers began pulling them off store shelves in the wake of a mass shooting at a Charleston, S.C. church that killed nine people. The killer had been photographed holding a Confederate flag.
"After the church shooting, Amazon and Wal-Mart stopped selling [the flag] and people were afraid they wouldn't be able to buy it," store owner Belinda Kennedy told AL.com. "And then, you started seeing streets renamed, schools being renamed, mountains being renamed. And then, people started getting angry. And then, there's another surge."
Following the protests in Charlottesville that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and two state police officers, Kennedy said she received 100 orders for the flag in one day. On average, the store has sold 600-800 Confederate flags per year since 2015.
She argues the flag has been co-opted by hate groups to represent something it was never intended to symbolize.
"When you've got people like the Ku Klux Klan and these neo-Nazi groups, the white supremacists, when they hijack the flag, that should be a crime, because that's not what the flag is about. But that's what makes people so vehemently, adamantly opposed to the flag," Kennedy said.
Kennedy considers herself a Daughter of the Confederacy but does not view herself as a champion for its cause and views the rebel flag and monuments as symbols and historical representations.
"When we start trying to rewrite our history, we are forgetting our history," she said. "Does anybody really think by taking down monuments and renaming mountains and taking down Confederate flags, that we are really going to see racism end? That's not going to fix it."
She added that reasons for purchasing the flag often vary, but many fear they may not be able to acquire it some day.