Pritzker defends decision to cancel Confederate Railroad performance

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker defended the state’s decision to cancel a performance by the band Confederate Railroad at the Du Quoin State Fair, and said it is a different set of circumstances from Snoop Dogg appearing at the Illinois State Fair.

During a press availability in Chicago, Pritzker said Confederate Railroad’s use of the Confederate flag in its logo makes it an inappropriate choice to perform at the Du Quoin State Fair.

“The Confederate flag is a symbol of not just slavery, but of treason against the United States,” Pritzker said. “It is also a symbol of murder, of kidnapping, of rape. That’s what happened under the banner of the Confederate flag many years ago in this country.

“It is today a symbol of racists, of white nationalists, of the alt-right,” Pritzker continued. “I cannot think that the state of Illinois should be sponsoring something that is amplifying that symbol. That is why we took the action we did.”

The band originally was scheduled to perform in the grandstand of the Du Quoin State Fair on Aug. 27. A couple of weeks ago, some comments surfaced on social media that questioned whether a band called Confederate Railroad should be booked to play at a state fair in the Land of Lincoln. Last week, the Pritzker administration quietly canceled the appearance.

Once word of the cancellation got out, a firestorm of protest erupted among the band’s fans and conservatives in far southern Illinois who objected to a decision they believe was dictated by Chicago liberals.

Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, added to the controversy by questioning why the state didn’t cancel an appearance by Snoop Dogg, who is scheduled to perform Aug. 16 at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Snoop Dogg generated controversy over some art associated with his album “Make America Crip Again.” It was a picture of a flag-covered corpse with a toe tag that reads “Trump”.

According to a Variety story from November 2017, Snoop Dogg posted the picture, which was described as an album cover, on Instagram, but later deleted it. Variety also reported that Snoop Dogg’s publicist told the publication the album had already been released with a different cover — a picture of just a blue baseball cap with the “Make America Crip Again” wording.

Pritzker said there is a distinction between the band using the flag and the picture posted by Snoop Dogg.

“There’s a big difference between what I just described, where hundreds of thousands of people died, tens of millions of people were enslaved,” Pritzker said. “We’re talking about a terrible history in the United States, death and destruction that took place under that flag, and on the other side political satire.”

Pritzker said the flag represented the views of those who eventually killed Abraham Lincoln.

“Remember it was under the banner of the Confederate flag that the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, our favorite son, the son of Illinois, was murdered” Pritzker said.

While Confederate Railroad will not play at the Du Quoin State Fair, it will play in that area later this year. The band is set to play Sept. 5 at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson in Marion.

Shad Zimbro is Black Diamond Harley-Davidson co-owner. He says booking Confederate Railroad was not a matter of showing anyone up but simply giving southern Illinois fans the show they wanted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Doug Finke: doug.finke@sj-r.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr

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July 10, 2019 at 06:06PM

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