Leaders Urge South Carolina to Take Down Confederate Flag

By Sheryl Estrada


UPDATE (4:15 pm 6/22/15): South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced that she will call on state lawmakers to move the Confederate flag from state grounds. Lawmakers are expected to debate the issue and vote in the coming weeks.

Original Story:

Following racist gunman Dylann Roof’s mass murder of nine members of Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the debate to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s capitol grounds is now at the forefront.

Online photos have surfaced of Roof holding a Confederate flag and gun, and his car had a Confederate flag license plate. (There was also a photo on hisFacebook pageof him wearing the flags of defunct white supremacist regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa.)

Presidential hopeful and South Carolina Sen.Lindsey Graham, who previouslydefended having the Confederate flag on state capitol grounds,will call for its removal,according toCNN.

Graham will make his announcement during a press conference with South Carolina’s Republican governor, Nikki Haley, at 4 p.m.

He said last week that it was Roof to blame for the killings, not the flag, and that the flag is appropriate for South Carolina.

“It works here, that’s what the statehouse agreed to do,”he said. “You could probably visit other places in the country near some symbol that doesn’t quite strike you right.”

RELATED STORY:Lindsey Graham Minimizes Charleston Shooter’s Intentions

South Carolina State Rep. Norman D. Brannon also wants to take the flag down:

“The flag is kind of like algae in a lake,” he said. “It’s just barely under the surface, everybody knows it’s there, but unless something like this happens, nobody talks about it. What lit the fire under this was the tragic death of my friend and his eight parishioners. It took my buddy’s death to get me to do this. I should feel ashamed of myself.”

Brannon was friends with State Sen. Clementa C. Pinckney who was murdered in the mass shooting Wednesday, and he said he is going to introduce a bill in the next session of the Legislature to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s statehouse.

Mayor of Charleston Joseph P. Riley Jr. is urging state leaders that the flag should go into a museum.

“It sends at best mixed messages, and at worst, for hateful people like Roof, it’s an affirmation,” Riley said. “They have appropriated something and used it as a symbol of hatred.”

TheConfederate flag represents the South’s defense of slavery and segregation.Activists have contested the flag for decades. Back in 2000, they were successful in getting the flag moved from the dome of the Capitol building, where it was placed in 1962, to a memorial of Confederate soldiers. However, that memorial is still located on the statehouse grounds, and activists have made it their goal to take the flag down completely.

According to a 2011 Pew Research Center poll, “Civil War at 150: Still Relevant, Still Divisive,” there is more of a negative response to the flag than positive:

A majority (58 percent) say they have no particular reaction to the Confederate flag, the symbol of the South. Among those who have a reaction to the flag, more than three times as many say they have a negative reaction as a positive reaction (30 percent to 9 percent).

NAACP President Cornell Brooks said at a news conference on Friday the flag needs to be removed:

The flag has to come down. This was not merely a mass shooting, not merely a matter of gun violence. This was a racial hate crime, and must be confronted as such. We say this not because we’re trying to sow division, but rather because we’re trying to sow unity a unity of purpose, a unity of commitment, a unity of resolve so that we confront the racism in our midst. And that means, certainly symbolically, we cannot have the Confederate flag waving in the state capitol.

The Confederate flag, which is touted by supporters as representing heritage, was adopted as a battle flag by the Army of Northern Virginia under General Lee. However, it is actually not one of the three national flags that were used to represent the Confederate nation during the Civil War, the first called “Stars and Bars.” The flag at the center of debate was only associated with the Confederacy after the South lost the Civil War, and is also known as the “rebel flag.”

There was a revival of the Confederate flag in the 1940s. In 1948, the segregationist Dixiecrat party ushered in the use of the battle flag as a symbol of resistance to government. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) then used the flag to support their agenda of hate. Though not the group’s official flag, it had a substantial influence on the symbolism of the Confederate flag. In the 1960s, the flag was also used by white separatists in the South.

In 1956 a redesign of Georgia’s state flag incorporated the Confederate flag. Though the state changed its flag in 2013, Mississippi’s state flag still contains a Confederate emblem.

Just last week, on June 18, The Supreme Court ruled that Texas is free to reject a proposed design by the Sons of Confederate Veterans that features the Confederate flag, saying that messages used on specialized license plates are a form of government speech.

Politicians also have taken to social media to voice their opinions. On Saturday, former GOP presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney posted a message on Twitter:

President Barack Obama replied:

“The president has said before he believes the Confederate flag belongs in a museum, and that is still his position,” a White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.

Latest News

Georgia Power, Georgia Power Foundation Invested More Than $20 Million To Help Meet Community Challenges in 2020

Originally published at southerncompany.com. Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Georgia Power and the Georgia Power Foundation today released their annual Citizenship Report highlighting how the company, its employees and retirees gave back to Georgia communities last year, helping to build…

Toyota Financial Services Issues New Asset-Backed Green Bond, Highlighting Toyota’s Ongoing Commitment to Sustainability

Originally published at pressroom.toyota.com. Toyota Motor North America ranked No. 7 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Toyota Financial Services (TFS) issued its latest Asset-Backed Green Bond, reinforcing the company’s longstanding commitment to the sale of environmentally friendly vehicles. Net proceeds from the $1.6…

ADP Recognized as a Customers’ Choice in 2021 Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’

Originally published at mediacenter.adp.com. ADP ranked No. 8 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Industry analyst firm Gartner recognized ADP as a Customers’ Choice with category distinctions in Midsize Enterprises and North America in its 2021 Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’: Cloud HCM Suites…

Cigna building

Cigna and New York Life Expand Eligibility for ‘Brave of Heart Fund’ Grants Supporting Families of Healthcare Workers Who Lost Their Lives in the Fight Against COVID-19

Originally published at cigna.com. Cigna ranked No. 33 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   On June 17, the foundations of New York Life and Cigna announced that the Brave of Heart Fund, which provides monetary grants to the families of heroic health care workers…

Cox Auto Study on Dealerships Thriving in Digital

Originally published at coxenterprises.com. Cox Communications ranked No. 32 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Cox Automotive has released a new study — “How to Thrive: ​Best Practices for an Accelerated Digital Landscape” — examining effective strategies dealerships are adopting to find profits and thrive…

Hershey Named To The Civic 50 And Recognized As Consumer Staples Leader For Commitment To Empowering Communities

Originally published at thehersheycompany.com. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   The Hershey Company has been named a 2021 honoree of The Civic 50 by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. In addition to being recognized…