Business News OK Cafe front

Published on August 18th, 2015 |

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Sen. Fort asks ACVB action if OK Cafe’s Confederate flag not removed

OK Café, that is preparing to reopen soon after shutting down in December following an electrical fire that severely damaged the building, now faces another challenge before re-opening its doors to power breakfasts and lunches. This challenge is politically charged.

State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) is asking the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau to remove any reference to the iconic Buckhead restaurant from publications and its website if OK Café

The OK Cafe the day of the fire last December.

The OK Cafe the day of the fire last December.

refuses to remove a carving of a 1956 Georgia state flag, which includes the Confederate battle emblem.

Fort is calling on OK Café co-owner Susan DeRose to keep the flag out when the restaurant reopens, reports WXIA-TV. DeRose has said she plans to keep the state flag in the restaurant. The flag was Georgia’s state flag from 1956 until 2001.

In the wake of a racially-motivated mass killing in Charleston, Georgia has become a battlefield for remembrance of the Confederacy, with opposing sides claiming the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia as either a symbol of southern heritage or a symbol of hatred and repression of African-Americans.

In a letter to ACVB Chairman Daryl Evans and President and CEO William Pate prior to Tuesday’s ACVB meeting, Fort wrote:

“I would like to address the August 18 meeting of the Executive Committee of the ACVB to urge you to persuade Ms. DeRose to not display the 1956 Georgia flag when the OK Café reopens.

Should the OK Café continue to display this divisive symbol, I would ask the ACVB to remove any reference to them from websites and publications. I will also ask that the ACVB take proactive steps to alert future conventions and their attendees to the embarrassment that they may face if they patronize Ms. DeRose’s restaurants.”

Fort believes the “Super Bowl and other major events would almost certainly” not come to Atlanta if the Confederate flag is allowed to return to the OK Café. Fort wrote he hopes to “avert embarrassment and loss of revenue for the Atlanta convention business.”

Click here to view the WXIA report and read the entire Fort letter.

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