Petition to keep Maryland flag gets support, but who wants it gone?

A petition to keep the Maryland flag is lighting up the internet.

A petition to keep the Maryland flag is lighting up the internet. It has the support of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and about 50,000 people in just a few days. But, is anyone actually asking to change the flag? 

Even the activist who tweet-shamed the flag's alleged confederate ties, and got thousands of retweets, says it's not his fight. So, why is there a petition?

Brian Griffiths, Editor-in-Chief of Red Maryland, explains why he started it.

"Our flag is a symbol of unity, we wanted to make sure that people understood that this symbol of unity was out of bounds for people who were trying to revise some of our history," he said. 

RELATED: Does Maryland flag have Confederate ties?

Benjamin Jancewicz is the man who shined a spotlight on the flag's confederate history.

"I'm not here to change history, I'm here to go through it with a highlighter," he said. 

Jancewicz says he wants people to simply know the history. The yellow and black quadrants of the flag come from the Calvert family. The red and white comes from the Crosslands. Jancewicz points out the state's website backs him up. 

"During the war, Maryland-born Confederate soldiers used both the red-and-white colors and the cross bottony design....as a unique way of identifying their place of birth," he said. 

Jancewicz pointed to the cross and said "You can see that motif in a lot of confederate clothing, they used it as a pin, there's an archive that says it was darned into socks I found an infantry pennant that had that cross on  it. and it was all derived from the Crossland's banner."

Griffiths says he is familiar with the flag's history and it should be celebrated.

"Nobody is trying to hide the history of our flag and I think that particularly in times as divisive as these the fact a flag like ours exists that brought people together after such a horrific conflict during the 1860s, that's something that we should be celebrating," he said. 

He goes on to say that in his opinion Jancewicz is making a mountain out of a molehill.

To that, Jancewicz said, "I don't think the confederacy was a molehill. I think the confederacy affected this state in deep and lasting ways."

Griffiths counters, "we should not be trying to use it's origins as a reason for trying to divide people."

Governor Hogan has said the Maryland flag is the most beautiful and most recognized state flag in America. Some are suggesting the Governor's backing of a petition to keep the flag when no one asked to change it is a way to appeal to Republicans.

The Governor received criticism for supporting the recent removal of the statue of former U.S. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney from the State house grounds in Annapolis. Taney wrote the Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery and denied citizenship to African Americans.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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