Woman raises nearly $40k to put billboard message next to Confederate flag

A Missouri woman drew widespread support for her response to a Confederate flag display, raising over $39,000 to put her message on a billboard next to the flag.

“Equality, bigger than hate,” the billboard reads.

People donated generously to Burrows’s GoFundMe page, far surpassing her $3,850 fundraising goal. “This has exceeded every expectation I set when this was started. With this support, we can continue to exercise our right to free speech for the foreseeable future,” Burrows wrote.

The flag and billboard stand on Highway 54 outside Eldon, Missouri. Burrows has leased the billboard for at least six months. 

“As a society, we’ve evolved past owning our neighbors,” Burrows wrote on the donations page. “I respect the history of our country and do not wish to live in a place where we can’t have differing opinions. The money spent locally in Eldon & Lake of the Ozarks by tourists benefits all local residents. I don’t want visitors to this area to leave with the impression that Eldon is stuck in a place of ignorance, hate, & racism.”

Missouri members of the national organization Sons of Confederate Veterans erected the Confederate flag several months ago, according to member Darrell Maples

“We actually have African American members,” Maples said. “We feel like there’s a lot of misunderstanding about why the Confederate people fought. Again, our mission is to do nothing more than to honor our ancestors for fighting for what they believe in.”

Maples said whoever leased the billboard is fully within their rights to share their message as well.

Burrows hopes her message is “Love not Hate” and wants her hometown to be a welcoming place for everyone. “We wave at our neighbors, empty our pockets at cancer fundraisers & only raise taxes for schools & police officers,” she added. “I’m proud of that. I also want anyone who doesn’t look like me to feel welcome here.”

People have donated to the GoFundMe from all over the world. “Symbols like the Confederate flag are important to history and thus belong only in museums where they can be displayed with the proper context. I fully support your billboard’s message,” one donor wrote. “Thank you for organizing this and showing the world that not all Missouri is like what that flag represents. Keep it up! Warm regards from Switzerland,” said another.