Photographer: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Six Flags Removes Confederate Flag at Parks After Protests

  • The Stars and Bars have been replaced by Stars and Stripes
  • Company reverses initial position that banner would remain

Six Flags Entertainment Corp., a theme-park operator with 20 locations across North America, has taken down its Confederate flags.

The ‘‘Stars and Bars’’ -- not to be confused with the better-known Confederate battle flag depicting a blue diagonal cross studded with white stars on a red background -- was replaced with U.S. flags at three parks this weekend, according to Sharon Parker, a spokeswoman for Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, one of the sites. The removal followed a statement days earlier that this park would continue its display.

“We always choose to focus on celebrating the things that unite us versus those that divide us,” Parker said by email. “As such, we have changed the flag.”

The company’s action follows the violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, where neo-Nazis and white nationalists gathered to oppose plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and clashed with anti-fascist and anti-racism protesters. One woman was killed and many others were injured after a man in a car rammed the counter-demonstrators.

Monuments to the Confederacy, seen as positive images of those who fought to preserve slavery in the U.S. Civil War, were removed from Baltimore and the Maryland State House in Annapolis this week and are being taken down in other locations.

Six Flags now only flies U.S. flags at its U.S. parks, Parker said by email. The Stars and Bars, with a ring of white stars in a blue square over red and white horizontal bars, was the first official flag of the Confederate States of America. It was also removed from the the company’s locations in San Antonio and Atlanta.

The Six Flags Over Texas park was designed to reflect the state’s past as part of six nations, according to Parker. The park includes themed areas such as ‘‘Old South,’’ ‘‘Mexico’’ and ‘‘France,” a map of the site shows.

Six Flags, which is based in Grand Prairie, Texas, has had a tough few weeks after John Duffey, its chief executive, abruptly left mid-July and an earnings report showed the company missed estimates for the second quarter. Its stock has fallen 17 percent since touching a high in April.

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