(Atlanta-AP) -- Civil rights leaders warn many blacks will not participate if Georgia holds a referendum on the state flag. A group including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Concerned Black Clergy and labor unions vowed to boycott a statewide vote on returning the Confederate battle cross to prominence on the state flag.
Black leaders say it is insulting to even ask blacks whether they want to see a return to the Georgia flag of 1956 to 2001. The rebel emblem dominates that flag.
The former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference -- the Reverend Joseph Lowery -- spoke at a news conference. He compared the referendum asking blacks to vote on the old flag to asking the Jewish community to participate in a campaign to raise the Swastika. Lowery says no black person should vote in the referendum.
Republican Governor Perdue has promised a nonbinding vote on the flag, with the Legislature making the final decision. A bill setting up the poll has been introduced, but neither chamber has voted on it yet.
Perdue's plan would require participants to vote both on the new flag as well as casting a second vote on Georgia's two former flags, including the one with the rebel symbol.