America ReFramed

Meltdown in Dixie

Season 09  Episode 11

In rural Orangeburg, SC, in the wake of the Charleston Massacre, a battle erupts between the Sons of Confederate Veterans and an ice cream shop owner forced to fly the Confederate flag in his parking lot.

The flag has flown in Orangeburg since 2000, when former shop owner Maurice Bessinger raised it over his property in protest over the flag being taken down from the SC State House dome. Before his death, Bessinger, a self-avowed segregationist, deeded the plot of land where the flagpole stood to the local Sons of Confederate Vets chapter to ensure that the flag would continue to fly.

In 2015, Tommy Daras, the new ice cream shop owner, sought to take the Confederate flag down. Encountering resistance from those who believe the "Old South" is disappearing, Tommy joins forces with local civil rights attorney, Justin Bamberg and takes the Sons of Confederate Vets to court. He also launches a far-reaching public relations campaign to separate himself from the flag. But will it be enough to get a deeply entrenched symbol of the South removed? This intimate, verite-driven short documentary film explores the broader role of Confederate symbolism in the 21st century and the lingering racial oppression which these symbols help maintain.