Rex Springston just published a useful investigative report on the Hollywood Cemetery Company’s changing display policies regarding Confederate flags, available here at the Virginia Mercury. It follows up on his earlier piece from 2020 written in the midst of the protests against Confederate monuments, where he reported that Hollywood had “temporarily” removed the once-ubiquitous rebel flags. Now Hollywood’s representatives have confirmed that a formal ban was placed on the flag — including variations of the Confederate battle flag and the Confederate national flags — in July 2020, and that ban continues in effect.
Cemeteries, especially private cemeteries, had once been seen as safe harbor for the relocation of embattled Confederate monuments from other public spaces, including a recommendation in 2018 from the Monument Avenue Commission to move elements of Richmond’s Jefferson Davis monument to Hollywood. For its part, Hollywood’s management has declined those offers. Clearly the cemetery’s board has a fine line to walk between creating a constructive space for wide public engagement on the one hand, and allowing for descendants and devotees to honor the military service of its thousands of soldier burials on the other. In the U.S. national cemeteries, dominated by Union burials yet featuring a smaller number of (often previously relocated) Confederate remains, the federal government allows for the public display of Confederate flags two days a year. So now the Union’s national cemeteries have a more liberal flag policy than the onetime “inner sanctum” of the “Southern Shrine.”
Hollywood’s landscape is now different, but the tension remains.