It was death by fire for the stars and bars.
More than 50 people gathered at N’Namdi’s Art Gallery in Midtown Detroit to burn and bury the Confederate flag.
“For some people it’s the symbol of some kind of pride. When you think of what that war was about, it was about keeping us in bondage,” said Jessica Care Moore, poet.
“American is changing towards what’s better, what’s moral, what’s true. I think the burning of the Confederate flag is just another step toward that truth, so I think it’s about time,” said Jerome Gibson, and attendee.
The burning followed a funeral ceremony for one of the most divisive symbols in American history, complete with prayers, poems, and a eulogy.
All of this was the brain child of artist and Detroit native John Sims.
He started reinterpreting the flag nearly 20 years ago, changing its colors from red, white, and blue to red, black, and green.
Then he got the idea the hang the flag from the gallows.
He took the show on the road and buried the stars and bars in 13 mostly southern states. That was two years ago.
“Then after that on Memorial Day in 2015 just three weeks later you had the murder in Charleston and that set up a very serious problem.”
“As long as this Confederate flag is used as an emblem and symbol for white supremacy harkening back all the way to the Civil War ideas and making America great in that context, we’re going to have a problem,” said Sims.
Sims brought the show back home to Detroit, in part to note the 50th anniversary of the 1967 rebellion.
This burning and burial also falls on Memorial Day – a day of solemn remembrance with roots that stretch back to the civil war.
“Burning, rapid oxidation is also an opportunity for regrowth, to rise from the ashes. The Civil War is over and it’s time to move forward in an honest discussion and justice and peace,” said Sims. “If you don’t have that, we’re not going to go very far.”