Tag Archives: Confederate flag

S.C. House Votes To Remove Confederate Flag From Capitol Grounds

… and Governor signs the bill.

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Jalaludin Abdul-Hamid, a protester against the Confederate flag that flies outside the South Carolina Statehouse, speaks to a flag supporter Tuesday. Photo credit: Sean Rayford

South Carolina’s governor used nine pens Thursday to sign a law that will remove the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds and send it to a museum.

Each pen, Gov. Nikki Haley said, will go to the families of the nine victims of last month’s massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

By showing forgiveness after the shooting, she said, they caused the change of heart that led to passage of the history-making bill.

“This is a story about the history of South Carolina and how the action of nine individuals laid out this long chain of events that forever showed the state of South Carolina what love and forgiveness looks like,” she said.

Crowds wanting to be part of the event gathered around the flag on the State House grounds and jammed the lobby to witness the signing.

Early Thursday morning, lawmakers in the South Carolina House approved a Senate bill that removes the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds. The measure passed by a two-thirds margin and now Republican Gov. Nikki Haley has signed it into law. The Associated Press reports: As House members deliberated well into the night, there were tears of anger and shared memories of Civil War ancestors. Black Democrats, frustrated at being asked to show grace to Civil War soldiers as the debate wore on, warned the state was embarrassing itself.

The flag, which was removed from the state Capitol dome in 2000, became the focus of controversy after 21-year-old white supremacist and confessed murderer Dylann Roof shot and killed state senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight other parishioners, during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Roof allegedly wanted to start a “race war.” Many took it as an affront to the victims that the Confederate battle flag at the state capitol remained at full mast, even as the U.S. flag flew at half mast.

That touched off a backlash against the flag. Major retailers announced they would stop selling Confederate flags and related merchandise, including: Google, Amazon, Walmart, , Sears, EBay, Etsy, Target, and Spencer Gifts. NASCAR asked fans not to display the flag at NASCAR events, but stopped short of banning it altogether.

Republican lawmakers awkwardly distanced themselves from the Confederate flag, after years of supporting it and courting the constituency that embraced it. Long before she called for the flag to come down, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said shortly after the Emanuel shooting, “It’s him, not the flag,” referring to Roof. During her re-election campaign, Haley defended the flag as merely a symbol of Southern “grit”.

For conservatives, the controversy is an occasion to duck and cover, until the matter blows over. For progressives, it’s a chance to bring together two separate stories about a shared history and heritage, and begin to address how that shared heritage impacts our present.

Defenders of the flag often say it represents “heritage, not hate.” Yet, white supremacy was inherent to slavery as practiced in the South. Confederate leaders said as much, and none so plainly as Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens in his famous “Cornerstone Speech.

Read more >>> NPR

Fall_skyline_of_Columbia_SC_from_Arsenal_HillSkyline of downtown Columbia – South Carolina

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As opposition to Confederate flag grows, Maryland’s Hogan joins in

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The Maryland version of a proposed license plate honoring the Sons of Confederate Veterans is displayed during a public hearing in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 21, 1999. (Steve Helber/AP)

Maryland efforts to eliminate symbols that many people perceive as racist gained momentum Tuesday, with Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signaling plans to end the use of the Confederate battle flag on vehicle tags and a progressive group starting a petition to take down other reminders of past inequality.

“Governor Hogan is against the use of the Confederate flag on Maryland license plates,” spokesman Doug Mayer said in a statement. “We are working with the [Maryland Vehicle Administration] and the Attorney General to address this issue as soon as possible.”

The announcement came hours after MoveOn.org launched a petition calling on Maryland leaders to remove what organizers described as symbols of racial inequality from the state capitol and the University of Maryland.

It followed a decision by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) to phase out a state-sponsored license plate featuring an image of the Confederate flag, and an announcement by mega-retailers Amazon.com and Wal-Mart to stop selling Confederate-themed items.

Opposition to the flag and related objects has increased nationwide since last week’s mass shooting at a historic African American church in Charleston, S.C. Authorities say the suspect, 21-year-old high school dropout Dylann Roof, declared his hatred for African Americans before opening fire. The Justice Department is investigating the shooting as a hate crime.

The MoveOn.org petition is demanding the removal of a statue outside the Annapolis statehouse honoring Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, who wrote the majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision that said blacks born in the United States could not be U.S. citizens.

The petition also calls for U-Md. to rename its football stadium, which bears the moniker of former university president Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd, a segregationist. It says Byrd was responsible for the race-based rejection of Thurgood Marshall, who became the Supreme Court’s first African American justice, from the U-Md. law school.

“Structures erected in honor of Roger Taney and Curley Byrd are symbols of racial hatred with no place in our government,” the petition says, “and . . . it’s time to put these symbols behind us, accelerate our healing, and have Maryland embrace unity and respect for human rights rather than division and white supremacy.”

The petition had more than 275 signatures on Tuesday night.

MoveOn.org added a second petition late Tuesday calling for Capital One bank, soda maker Pepsi and the Under Armour apparel company to cut financial ties to U-Md. until the school decides to rename Byrd Stadium.

 “When opening up a bank account, buying athletic apparel, or choosing a soda, people do not want to feel like they are helping a company to further finance institutional racism, so join us in this steadfast and unwavering demand: Say bye-bye to Curley, and do it in a hurry,” the petition said.

Colin Byrd, an African American U-Md. graduate who created the petitions, led an earlier campaign to convince the school to rename Byrd Stadium. The student government endorsed the proposal in a 13-to-2-to-2 vote in April, and university president Wallace Loh sent the matter to the school’s naming committee for review.

U-Md. spokesman Brian Ullman said Wednesday that the committee, which includes faculty, staff and student representatives, has not yet met. He added that “ultimate authority for the naming of all campus buildings rests with the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.”

Both Maryland and Virginia had been under court order to permit images of the Confederate flag on their license plates. But that changed last week, after the Supreme Court ruled that Texas could reject a license-plate design requested by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The decision does not force states to change their policies on specialty tags, but it allows them to reinstate prior restrictions on Confederate symbols that were overturned.

In addition to the statement by Hogan’s spokesman Tuesday, some 30 state lawmakers sent a letter to Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn and Milton Chaffee, head of the state Motor Vehicle Administration, asking them to discontinue Confederate-themed license plates.

Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) did not sign the letter but supports banning the Confederate flag from the state’s license plates, Busch spokeswoman Alexandra Hughes said. Hughes said the speaker could not be reached for comment about the petition.

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert) could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

via Washington Post

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>>Sign the MoveOn.org petition here<<

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