Nashville DA apologizes for Confederate flag yearbook photo
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville’s top prosecutor has apologized for posing with a Confederate flag in a Kappa Alpha fraternity group photo in his 1982 college yearbook.
In a statement, Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk said he found the photo while searching his Wake Forest University yearbooks and felt compelled to disclose it after Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee expressed regret for wearing a Confederate uniform for “Old South” parties with Kappa Alpha at Auburn University. A 1980 Auburn yearbook photo shows Lee in the outfit.
The Nashville Scene reported that Funk, a Democrat, brought the photo and a written statement of apology to the newsweekly on Tuesday.
“I was wrong to participate in divisive and hurtful behavior,” Funk said in his statement. “I apologize for the hurt caused then and now.”
Funk’s disclosure also comes in the wake of a scandal involving two Virginia politicians who once wore blackface. That case has focused renewed scrutiny on the past behavior of elected officials around the country when it comes to race.
The photo shows Funk and a few dozen more of his fraternity brothers around the Confederate flag.
Kappa Alpha’s “Old South” parties were a tradition on multiple campuses, but the fraternity’s national organization has prohibited the use of Confederate flags at any chapter since 2001 and banned the wearing of uniforms and parades in 2010, a spokesman told the AP. Auburn’s “Old South” parade ended in 1992, according to a university spokesman.
Earlier this month, Wake Forest University President Nathan Hatch said in a news release he was “disheartened and disturbed” to learn that old yearbooks include lynching references, racial slurs, Confederate symbols and photos of students wearing blackface.
In 2016, the North Carolina school joined a group of Universities Studying Slavery to better understand the role of slaves in the university’s founding.
Funk won a decisive Democratic primary election in 2014 with the help of black voters. He did not have a Republican opponent in the general election.