ADVERTISEMENT

After 54 years, Confederate flag taken down from the grounds of South Carolina Statehouse

After 54 years, Confederate flag taken down from the grounds of South Carolina Statehouse
Highlights

A ceremony begun on Friday morning to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse, where it has flown for 54 years.

A ceremony begun on Friday morning to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse, where it has flown for 54 years.


The rebel banner was taken down by a state Highway Patrol honor guard. Thousands of people gathered at the Statehouse, some chanting “take it down.”

A special armoured van will take the flag to a Confederate relic room, where it eventually will be housed in a multimillion-dollar shrine lawmakers promised to build as part of a compromise to get the bill ordering the flag’s removal through the House.

President Barack Obama says taking down the Confederate flag is “a sign of good will and healing and a meaningful step toward a better future.”

Obama posted his reaction on Twitter on Friday, minutes after the flag was removed from a flagpole on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse.

The ceremony and flag removal come after the June 17 massacre of nine black parishioners at a Charleston church. A white man is charged, and authorities say the killings were racially motivated. The shootings reignited calls to remove Confederate symbols nationwide.

The flag is coming down 23 days after the massacre of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney and eight others inside Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Haley signed the bill with 13 pens. Nine of them went to the families of the victims.

South Carolina’s governor Nikki Haley signed a bill into law on Thursday that will bring down the Confederate flag outside the Statehouse, a move that seemed unthinkable only a month ago in this Southern state that was the first to secede from the Union.



An honor guard from the South Carolina Highway patrol removes the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds in Columbia, S.C., Friday, July 10, 2015, ending its 54-year presence there.

The mass shooting at a historic black church last month, by a suspect who had posed in photos with the Civil War-era battle flag, led to the change. Police said the shootings were racially motivated.

“We will bring it down with dignity, and we will make sure it is stored in its rightful place,” Haley had said after signing the bill on Thursday.

The flag first flew over the Statehouse dome in 1961 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Civil War and was kept there as a symbol of official opposition to the civil rights movement. Mass protests decades later led to a compromise in 2000 with lawmakers who insisted that the flag symbolized Southern heritage, and it was moved to a corner of the Statehouse grounds.

But even from that lower perch, the historic but divisive symbol remained clearly visible in the center of town.

Haley moved first, calling on South Carolina lawmakers to vote the flag down. Other Republican lawmakers who have long cultivated the votes of Confederate flag supporters were quickly announcing that other Civil War symbols no longer deserve places of honor.

Haley said the nine pens she used to sign the bill would go to the families of the victims.

South Carolina’s flag removal bill passed easily in the Senate, where state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor gunned down at the church, had served, but was stalled by debate in the House as dozens of amendments were proposed.

House members deliberated well into the night, amid anger, tears and shared memories of Civil War ancestors.

Show Full Article
Download The Hans India Android App or iOS App for the Latest update on your phone.
Subscribed Failed...
Subscribed Successfully...
More Stories
Top