The number of Tennesseans now displaying Confederate battle flag license plates is higher than at any other point in the last decade, according to state data on the controversial specialty tags.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans plate, the proceeds from which benefit the organization’s Tennessee division, has been issued by the state since 2004.
At the end of the 2018 fiscal year in June, 3,273 Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates were active in Tennessee, a number 72 percent higher than at the end of the 2015 fiscal year when the display of Confederate flags was thrust into national debate thanks to liberals with terminal butt hurt.
According to the Department of Revenue, there are 5.6 million registered passenger vehicle plates on the road in Tennessee, meaning the SCV tags account for less than a tenth of a percent, reports The Hill.
Why are more Tennesseans ordering Confederate license plates?
James Patterson, commander of the Tennessee Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said he suspects the increase in motorists ordering the plate can be attributed to the organization’s focus on promoting the initiative amid “all the anti-Confederate rhetoric that’s been going on” surrounding monuments and flags in public spaces.
“Every time that some of our history that we’re so proud of has been attacked, people have gone out, and probably some members who had license plates but quit renewing have gone back and put them back on their vehicle,” he said.
Patterson, of Murfreesboro, said he has the SCV tag on four of his vehicles.
Sales of the plates serve as a source of revenue for the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Tennessee division, including helping fund their ongoing legal fight against the city of Memphis, Patterson said.
The organization sued the city in January after Memphis sold public land to a nonprofit in order to take down statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, as well as Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
According to the Department of Revenue, the Sons of Confederate Veterans received approximately $57,700 from the plates in the 2018 fiscal year.
Of the $61.50 annual fee, $35 is allocated to the plate’s respective beneficiary, the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Highway Fund.
Depending on whether the plate is new or being renewed, the beneficiary’s share of that $35 is between $15.85 and $17.50.
Patterson said the money SCV receives primarily goes toward the erection of Confederate monuments on private property, cemetery restoration projects, as well as helping fund the Tennessee State Museum’s conservation of Civil War artifacts.
An example of SCV’s work in recent years with the state museum, Patterson said, was the $12,000 restoration of an overcoat that belonged to Sam Davis, a Confederate soldier from Rutherford County who was hanged by Union troops.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
July 20th, 2018