Confederate flag at South Carolina State House comes down permanently

Screenshot from July 10, 2015 flag lowering ceremony in South Carolina broadcast by C-SPAN.

Three weeks after a racially motivated mass-murder at the historic Emanuel AME church in Charleston, the confederate flag was permanently removed from the State House grounds Friday morning. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.

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The removal of the flag – which was installed  at the height of the Civil Rights movement – required a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of the state legislature.

The renewed call to remove it grew exponentially in recent weeks, after white supremacist Dylann Roof massacred nine African Americans attending bible study at the historic black church.  As thousands of people attended services for the victims, including the dynamic Reverend at Mother Emanuel State Senator Clementa Pinckney, the confederate flag flew at full mast near the Capitol building, protected from either lowering or removal by South Carolina law.

Late last month, just after state lawmakers began the weeks-long legislative process to review that law, 30-year-old African American Bree Newsome scaled the flagpole and removed the flag. She was arrested along with her climbing spotter, and the flag was immediately returned to its full mast position. Newsome and her spotter both face three years in prison.

On Tuesday South Carolina Senators easily passed the measure to bring the flag down, but it faced opposition in the House of Representatives. More than 60 amendments were offered in a mini-filibuster maneuver, dragging out debate past midnight Wednesday. Finally State Representative Jenny Horne, whose district includes part of Charleston, took the podium.

“I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday,” admonished Representative Hood. “And if any of you vote to amend, you are ensuring that this flag will fly beyond Friday. And for the widow of Senator Pinckney and his two young daughters, that would be adding insult to injury!”

A vote soon followed and passed by a margin of 94-20. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed the bill into law on Thursday.

The flag removed Friday was added to the collection of the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.

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