If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, you all but certainly knew about The Dukes of Hazzard. The immensely popular show ran from January of 1979 until February of 1985 and consistently ranked among the top-rated series of its time, largely in part to its memorable lead characters, Georgian boys Bo and Luke Duke. The mischievous duo spend their time evading law enforcement and their perpetual nemeses Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, a couple of corrupt law enforcement officers intent on bringing the cousins down. However, what was perhaps the most iconic aspect of the show never even had a speaking role.
The Duke boys drove a 1969 Dodge Charger known as The General Lee, and it quickly became The Dukes of Hazzard‘s most recognizable feature with its bright orange aesthetic and Confederate battle flag painted along the top. Many of the cousins’ daring escapes and exciting moments took place driving the well-known car, and it earned itself a loving following, with many fans going so far as to even copy its paint job. But while the show itself may have remained beloved by many, The General Lee’s visuals haven’t aged quite as well.
Following the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin back in May, protesters took to the streets to fight back against police brutality. As the protests continue well over a month later, the goals have shifted toward also removing statues which glorify Confederate generals and other slave owners and traders. Additionally, a large push toward reducing or ending the existence of the Confederate flag in public has made progress, with many places banning its use and even Nascar announcing that it wouldn’t be allowed at races any longer.
However, The General Lee remains at the Illinois-based Volo Auto Museum with its Confederate battle flag still painted on the roof, and museum director Brian Grams says it will stay that way. Speaking with the Northwest Herald, he said:
We feel the car is part of history, and people love it. We’ve got people of all races and nationalities that remember the TV show and aren’t offended by it whatsoever. It’s a piece of history and it’s in a museum. Several people have reached out with positive comments about us leaving it on display complimenting us for leaving it there and not having a knee-jerk reaction to remove it like a lot of places are.
Thus far, most protesters have agreed that the Confederate flag and statues of Confederate slave traders would be fine to remain in history museums, as it’s important to always remember how far progress has come. So, for now, The Dukes of Hazzard‘s iconic car will remain comfortable and unaltered in the Volo Auto Museum for its fans to appreciate.