Waving of confederate flag prompts mixed feelings for Midlands family

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Alice Gallman and her grandson Kevin Felder walk along the African American Monument at the State House.

A reflection on an ancestor who they say was a confederate soldier.

He was a house servant. He kept his masters horses clean. He kept his masters clothes in order, says Alice Gallman.

Gallman says her great uncle John Alex Sarter was a soldier in the confederate army who fought first as a slave and later as a free man.

According to the state archives Sarter's war service made him eligible to receive pension back in the 1920's .

Gallman and Felder say Senator Ford's actions may cause some to think twice about looking at the flag in a negative way and remembering the war helped to end slavery.

"We should be able to celebrate slavery ended in 1865. I agree in part with that comment although I TMm still going to state slavery was not the primary issue of the war," says Mark Simpson, Commander of SC Division Sons of Confederate Veterans.

"I think its going to cause us all to look back at the history that is there and cause us to not simply fall into line with what the other preconceived notions that people may have had, says Kevin Felder.

Others say they understand why some African Americans are opposed to the flag.

This is certainly not mean spirited. In 1865 the emancipation of the slaves didn't really free them. They just changed masters. From the plantation of the south to that of the federal government," says Simpson.

Gallman says when she looks at the flag she thinks about the African Americans who fought like her ancestor John Alex Sarter.