DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. - Members of the Walton County Democratic Party gathered on the steps of the County Courthouse for their second annual Juneteenth Emancipation Proclamation celebration. Specifically, they celebrated the anniversary of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation reading in Texas.
They also made a plea to Walton County Commissioner to remove the Confederate flag from the courthouse, which led members of the community who support the Confederate flag to join them on the steps of the courthouse.
Stephen McBroom, a resident of Walton County said he is not unfamilar with people being unhappy with the Confederate flag flying.
"I've been on a couple of these when they've been on the terror of taking the flag down in different places. Some have not been successful, but some have. We were successful here two years ago whenever this (the Confederate flag) was under attack and we compromised and had the stars and bars instead of the Virginia battle flag," he said.
However, Karen McGee, the coordinator of Juneteenth said she was not expecting protesters.
"It's free speech, that's what we're here doing is reading a proclamation that was from our government. we're really memorializing and celebrating something which was a big step that our nation took," she said.
McBroom said he was not there out of hate, but for a more personal reason.
"I'm defending my heritage. You know I'm a fourth generation for this county. My ancestor was in South Carolina and he fought in the Civil War and was forced to move down here because of the reconstruction and they were building the railroad. So he moved down here after the Civil War. So I'm defending my heritage," he said.
Walton County is one of four counties in Florida that still fly the Confederate flag at their courthouse.