Beauvoir sees increase in visitors amid flag controversy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Beauvoir sees increase in visitors amid flag controversy

Patti and Allen Ivy visited the Beauvoir Confederate Veteran's Cemetery to pay respects to his great-grandfather. (Photo source: WLOX) Patti and Allen Ivy visited the Beauvoir Confederate Veteran's Cemetery to pay respects to his great-grandfather. (Photo source: WLOX)
Business at Beauvoir has spiked in the past three weeks since the Confederate flag controversy began. (Photo source: WLOX) Business at Beauvoir has spiked in the past three weeks since the Confederate flag controversy began. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Business at Beauvoir has spiked in the past three weeks since the Confederate flag controversy began. Friday, a steady flow of visitors stopped by the museum throughout the day.

Patti and Allen Ivy visited the Beauvoir Confederate Veteran's Cemetery to pay respects to his great-grandfather.

"I think it's a very important part of our history and our heritage, and I think to show disrespect for the flag shows disrespect for the ancestors that fought and worked and died for the flag," Patti said.

While visiting, the Ivys also bought a Confederate flag.

"We heard that a lot of manufacturers weren't going to make them anymore, and we figured we would get one while they are in stock," Patti said.

Beauvoir Executive Director Greg Stewart said gift shop sales have been tremendous lately.

"We sold out like everyone else did right away, but because of our relationship with flag manufacturers, we were able to get them back in," Stewart said. "We are having a banner month, so it is good for business and we are seeing a lot of interest. We are glad to be here for them."

Stewart said the increase in visitors should tell state political leaders how residents feel about preserving history.

"It's an indication that some of our political leaders are out of touch," Stewart said. "I would ask them to break away from the luncheons and their own little bubbles and go out there and ask. I think right before the primaries they are getting an earful, and I'm confident now the legislature isn't going to do anything, and the speaker, he is regretful for his comments because it has brought the Mississippi that we didn't need to be in back. I'm expecting any day retract it, and Mississippi will go back to doing what it's been doing our whole lives."

A history professor from Ohio spent his day Friday volunteering at Beauvoir. He said he is saddened to see America feuding over the Confederate symbol.

"Are we going to totally wipe out our nation’s history from 1861 to 1865? The Civil War? That flag was a sign of the Confederate Army," Dwayne Beggs said. "That's what it was when it originated, but now we have got controversy because it was used or perceived to be used as a piece of hate. Where does it stop?"

Beggs believes if future generations are not taught about the Civil War, mistakes could be repeated.

"How's it going to help us learn what happened to slaves, to black people, to the marginalized people, whatever the case," Beggs asked. "How are we going to know what has happened and make sure that doesn't ever happen again? As Shelby Foote said, people always thought of it as the United States is different states. Then, after the Civil War, it became the United States are we were kind of a collaboration, a group of states. It kind of unified us even though we had our sectional differences. We didn't always get along. We didn't always agree with everything. It still defined us as a group of people."

As more and more state and local leaders call for Civil War monuments, flags and other items to be taken down, Stewart said he will make room for them at Beauvoir.

"Hopefully the frenzy is over, but if they get to the place where they are digging up bodies in Memphis and taking down monuments in New Orleans, well, they are welcome here. The nice people of New Orleans can come visit them here, and it would be another draw for this place," Stewart said. "We will be doing what we are supposed to be doing, which is to be a shrine to the Confederate soldiers and Jefferson Davis. We are glad to be still standing."

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