Al McCray from Tampa, Florida is a black member of a Confederate group who defends the Rebel flag.
From the Tampa Tribune:
Whenever members of the Judah P. Benjamin Camp of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans don their grey wool uniforms for a demonstration or re-enactment, Al McCray is there among his brothers.
He marches in the parades and flies the Confederate flag. He speaks out against the notion that the Confederate battle flag is a symbol of racism and defends “Southern heritage” causes.
Yet McCray is different from the rest of the camp.
While the other members are descendants of soldiers that fought for the south in the Civil War, McCray is an African-American “legionnaire” — his ancestors were slaves on plantations near his hometown of Manning, South Carolina, just outside of Columbia.
“I understand the true nature of the war, and slavery was not the primary issue,” McCray said. “It was an issue of northern aggression and northern imperialism.”
McCray knows many people don’t understand his defense of the Confederate flag and Confederate States of America, particularly since the flag has become a political firecracker after nine black church members were slain last month in a racially motivated shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.
Among those who question his stance, he said, are the 63-year-old’s four adult children, as well as his parents. “My family is completely the opposite of me, no one supports my views or beliefs but we still get along,” said McCray, a Tampa journalist and managing editor of TampaNewsAndTalk.com.
In his years attending Civil War conferences, reenactments and Sons of Confederate Veterans gatherings, McCray said, he has only encountered three to five other African Americans. Still, his involvement doesn’t feel “weird or out of place at all,” he said.
“We’re truly a brotherhood,” McCray said.
Read the rest of the story here.