Wade Spees // The Post and Courier
Annie Chambers Caddell, who has drawn attention for her flying of Confederate flags, stands in her yard Friday in Summerville. A neighbor has erected a tall fence on one side of her property.
SUMMERVILLE -- Good fences make good neighbors. But when you openly fly the Confederate flag in a historically black neighborhood, they also can box you in.
Annie Chambers Caddell, who drew national attention 17 months ago when she moved into the Brownsville community and proudly displayed Confederate flags above her porch, said her neighbors have responded by intentionally trying to block off her house from view.
An 8-foot-tall wooden privacy fence has sprouted on one side of her house, screening off her property from the east. Meanwhile, several posts -- for a second yet-to-be-erected fence -- also have appeared on the west side.
The full effect would leave her home partially surrounded. "They are walling me in," Caddell said inside her bungalow-style home on West 1st North Street.
One of the adjacent property owners said Caddell's Confederate ties isn't why he erected the barrier, but he couldn't point to a specific reason.
"I just put it up," said neighbor James Patterson. "No other motive." He added, "I don't know what her state of mind is. I just wanted to put it up."
Patterson's raised fence has a two-foot open area at the bottom. Above that space is a line of planking about six feet tall, according to town permits. It runs for the length of Caddell's home. The fence was approved by Summerville planning officials. The fence does not go all the way to the street; there is about 12 feet of open right-of-way.
Caddell said from her point of view, the bigger issue is safety. Patterson's fence blocks some of her vision and of West 1st North Street, and she can't see cars approaching when she tries to back out of her property.
"It's a jacked-up fence on steroids," said Caddell, who filed a complaint about the fence with the town code enforcement personnel. She wants enough section of the fence to be removed to open up her view of the road.
Caddell insists flying Confederate flags doesn't mean she's racist. Inside her home she displays art of some of the biggest names in black music whom she grew up with, including Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls and Miles Davis. There's also an image of President Barack Obama.
But she also calls herself a daughter of the South, celebrating her heritage. Her four-door bright red Chevrolet is likewise adorned with Confederate stickers.
Opponents of her flag flying have marched against her, saying they see her displays as hurtful and antagonistic, and a reminder of slavery, lynchings and the Ku Klux Klan. But some other neighbors said her flag stand isn't worth dwelling on.
"I see it all day long," said a black woman in her 20s about the popularity of the flag being flown around the region. "Am I going to go up to everyone and say 'you're a racist?' " The woman added about Caddell, "She talks to us; she's nice."
Caddell said that while her house might be blocked on two sides, the front of her home -- where the banners hang -- still has an unrestricted view of the street.
"They didn't block the flags," she said.