National Parks Pull Confederate Flag Merchandise

Walmart, Amazon, eBay and Sears all similarly announced bans on the sale of Confederate flag items

By Beacon Staff

WASHINGTON – Confederate flag merchandise is being removed from national park bookstores and gift shops, the National Park Service announced Thursday.

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said the murder of nine people 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.

“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.”

Walmart, Amazon, eBay and Sears all similarly announced bans on the sale of Confederate flag merchandise, amid an intensifying national debate over the use of the controversial 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.”

In the telling of the historical story, Confederate flags have a place in books, exhibits, reenactments and interpretive programs, Jarvis said.

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, according to the NPS. Confederate flags include the Stainless Banner, the Third National Confederate Flag and the Confederate Battle Flag.

“All superintendents and program managers will personally evaluate which sales items fit this description, have educational value, and are appropriate for the site,” Jarvis said.