By Jay Mejia
Special News Correspondent
No fireworks are expected outside Dixie Outfitters this weekend.
That is, Black Lives Matter supporters said they have no plans for demonstrations over the July 4 holiday outside the Branson T-shirt shop at the center of the organization’s recent street protests.
For the last two weekends, Black Lives Matter supporters and counter protestors supporting the store’s right to freedom of expression have clashed on the sidewalks in sometimes heated exchanges kept apart by Branson and Taney County law enforcement officers.
No violence has been reported. One man was arrested Saturday for allegedly disturbing the peace.
“We accomplished our goals for now,” Larry Flenoid II said, who is one of the co-organizers of the Branson protests.
Black Lives Matters continues to draw local, state and national attention, training a spotlight on the store claiming its sales of Confederate flags and memorabilia breed ongoing racism and hatred between blacks and whites.
Some signs seem encouraging as a result of the protests, Flenoid added.
“A couple of guys came over from their side of the street and shook my hand,” Flenoid said. “One gave me a hug.”
Other signs of de-escalation took place just two days before Saturday’s protest, which only briefly shut down traffic on the strip outside the store’s 1819 W. 76 Country Blvd. location on Saturday. Traffic on 76, however, was tied up for miles in both directions.
Dixie Outfitters owner Nathan Robb said he did concede somewhat and took down the Confederate flag from the rooftop and adjusted signage at the request of the mayor and city alderman seeking to lower tensions.
An orange snow fence was erected between the store and sidewalk along the 76 Strip to keep protesters and counter protestors apart.
“At least it was,” Robb half-heartedly shrugged. “It matches the General.”
Robb was referring to the 1969 Dodge Charger driven in the popular 1970s television series The Dukes of Hazzard by the Duke boys, Bo and Luke.
For now, the “General” remains parked out front of Dixie Outfitters. The store remains open, and Robb sad he has no intention of closing down or relocating.
How long that will continue remains to be seen.
Feingold of Black Lives Matter, who is running for mayor of Springfield, said the organization will likely return at the end of July to convince Robb otherwise.