South Carolina Is Bringing Down Its Confederate Flag

July 9th 2015

South Carolina lawmakers voted in a late night session Wednesday to remove the Confederate flag currently flying on the state's capitol grounds. The controversial symbol will come down within days, according to the Associated Press. 

Following a horrific attack by an avowed white supremacist that killed 9 people at the historically Black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, more than 120,000 people signed a petition demanding removal of the flag, which flies above a Civil War memorial. This was in response to the attacker's use of Confederate symbols, which included a Confederate flag on his license plate.

High-profile calls to stop flying Confederate flags came from diverse sources, ranging from NASCAR to online retailers to many prominent South Carolina Republicans. It even inspired a young Black woman, Bree Newsome, to scale the flagpole and bring it down herself, before she was arrested.

One flag opponent, South Carolina Rep. Jenny Horne, gave a passionate speech in front of the state's legislature. Horne, a descendant of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis, said that "the people of Charleston deserve immediate and swift removal of that flag from this ground."

The bill now goes to Gov. Nikki Haley, whose signature will formalize the removal. Haley's support is all but a done deal, considering she has already publicly supported removal and tweeted an affirmation tonight:

At one time, the flag flew atop South Carolina's capitol dome. It was moved to the war memorial in 2000, a compromise that settled the issue until last month.

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