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Wed Jul 10, 2019, 12:41 PM

Illinois Cancels Country Rock Band 'Confederate Railroad' from Fair Lineup Over Confederate Flag [View all]

By JOHN O'CONNOR
36 minutes ago

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Country rock band Confederate Railroad has been barred from performing at an Illinois state fair because of its use of the Confederate flag, setting off a firestorm by southern Illinois fans who believe they’re under Chicago liberals’ thumb of political correctness.

The band was scheduled to appear Aug. 27 at the DuQuoin State Fair , but Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration canceled the appearance last week.

“This administration’s guiding principle is that the state of Illinois will not use state resources to promote symbols of racism,” Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner said. “Symbols of hate cannot and will not represent the values of the Land of Lincoln.”

The logo for the Grammy-nominated band, known for acoustic ballads such as “Jesus and Mama” as well as its raucous anthem, “Trashy Women,” features a steam engine from which waves dual Confederate Navy Jacks, whose stars and bars are the most widely recognized symbol of the Confederacy.

The banner has been attacked in recent years as a racist emblem of slavery and segregation. Supporters say it represents history and southern heritage.

The flare-up in DuQuoin, 87 miles (140 kilometers) southeast of St. Louis, rekindles a centuries-old rift in Illinois, whose southern tip reaches far into the confines of the old Confederacy and is home to a more traditional and conservative culture than that represented by Chicago Democrat Pritzker. Routinely, the region spawns legislation to make Chicago a separate state.

Joe McKinney, who has contacted Confederate Railroad about performing at his family’s banquet facility in DeSoto because of the group’s popularity, said the band has never used the flag to fan racial strife. “It’s just their logo. It’s just their southern pride,” McKinney said. But McKinney’s attempt to land the band goes beyond symbolism.

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https://www.apnews.com/662618e3c278475f9d6d103eb492d143

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