South Carolina House Ratifies Bill To Remove Confederate Flag From Statehouse
More than 50 years after South Carolina raised a Confederate flag at its Statehouse to protest the civil rights movement, the state is getting ready to remove the rebel banner.
A bill pulling down the flag from the Capitol’s front lawn and the flagpole it flies on passed the South Carolina House early Thursday morning. It should get to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk before the end of the day.
The governor promised to sign it quickly, but didn’t say exactly when. That’s important, because the bill requires the flag be taken down within 24 hours of her pen hitting the paper and shipped to the Confederate Relic Room.
There were hugs, tears and high fives in the House chamber after the vote. Members who waited decades to see this day snapped selfies and pumped their fists. But even among the celebrations, there was more than a bit of sadness.
After the Civil War, the flag was first flown over the dome of South Carolina’s Capitol in 1961 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the war. It stayed as a protest to the Civil Rights movement, only moving in 2000 from the dome to its current location.
The push that would bring down the Confederate flag for good only started after nine black churchgoers, including state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, were gunned down during Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17. Police said the white gunman’s motivation was racial hatred. Then three days later, photos surfaced of the suspect, Dylann Roof, holding Confederate flags.
There is still LOTS of work to be done in the fight against bigotry and racism, but this is most certainly a victory that will serve as proof that change is possible.
Image via AP