Tag: Confederate flag

Ole Miss Removes Mississippi Flag with Confederate Emblem from Campus

Initiative #55 supporters march towards the Mississippi State Capitol Sunday October 11, 2015 in Jackson, Miss. Initiative 55 is the Flag for All Mississippians Act which proposes removing the Confederate Battle flag from the Mississippi State flag. (photo via
Marchers supporting initiative to remove the Confederate Battle flag from the Mississippi State flag. (photo via blackbottomarchives.com)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The University of Mississippi has removed the state flag on its Oxford campus Monday morning because the banner contains the Confederate battle emblem, which some see as a painful reminder of slavery and segregation.

Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks ordered the flag lowered and said it was being sent to the university’s archives.

The action came days after the student senate, the faculty senate and other groups adopted a student-led resolution calling for removal of the banner from campus.

“As Mississippi’s flagship university, we have a deep love and respect for our state,” Stocks said in a statement Monday. “Because the flag remains Mississippi’s official banner, this was a hard decision. I understand the flag represents tradition and honor to some. But to others, the flag means that some members of the Ole Miss family are not welcomed or valued.”

Since 1894, the Mississippi flag has had the Confederate battle emblem in the upper left corner — a blue X with 13 white stars, over a field of red. Residents chose to keep the flag during a 2001 statewide vote.

However, the public display of Confederate symbols has been subject to heated debates since the June massacre of nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Police said the attack was racially motivated. The white man charged in the slayings had posed with a Confederate battle flag in photos posted online before the massacre.

More than 200 people took part in a remove-the-flag rally Oct. 16 on the Oxford campus. It was sponsored by the university chapter of the NAACP.

The University of Mississippi has struggled with Old South symbolism for decades. In 1962, deadly riots broke out when James Meredith was enrolled as the first black student, under court order. Ole Miss administrators have tried to distance the school from Confederate symbols. Sports teams are still called the Rebels, but the university several years ago retired the Colonel Rebel mascot — a white-haired old man some thought resembled a plantation owner. The university also banned sticks in the football stadium nearly 20 years ago, which eliminated most Confederate battle flags that fans carried.

“The University of Mississippi community came to the realization years ago that the Confederate battle flag did not represent many of our core values, such as civility and respect for others,” Stocks said in the statement Monday. “Since that time, we have become a stronger and better university. We join other leaders in our state who are calling for a change in the state flag.”

Several Mississippi cities and counties have stopped flying the state flag since the Charleston shootings. The state’s three historically black universities had stopped flying the flag earlier, and the state’s only black U.S. representative, Democrat Bennie Thompson, does not display the state flag in his offices because of the Confederate symbol.

article by Emily Wagster Pettus via blackamericaweb.com

South Carolina Gov. Signs Law to Remove Confederate Flag; Signing Pens to Go to Church Shooting Victims’ Families

gettyimages-480090296
Governor Nikki Haley signs law to take down Confederate Flag (photo via ktla.com)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a historic bill Thursday that will remove the Confederate battle flag from the state Capitol grounds, where it has been a source of friction for more than half a century.

Haley’s signature ends the fighting over the flag, seen as an emblem of Southern heritage by some but condemned as a symbol of racial oppression by others.

The flag flew over the dome of South Carolina’s Capitol in 1961 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the war — and stayed as a protest to the civil rights movement that shattered Jim Crow segregationist laws across the South. After protests from civil rights leaders, the battle flag was moved in 2000 from the dome to its current location on the Capitol’s front lawn.

Haley said the flag will “come down with dignity” at 10 a.m. Eastern time Friday. The banner will be taken to the state’s Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum for display.

“The Confederate flag is coming off the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse,” Haley told the overflow crowd. “We will bring it down with dignity and we will make sure it is stored in its rightful place.”

Haley had called for removal of the flag in the wake of the June 17 massacre of nine black parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston. A white man, Dylann Roof, who had apparently espoused racist ideologies and who had been photographed with Confederate symbols, is being held on nine murder counts and other charges.

Relatives of those slain at the church were among those in the racially diverse crowd who watched the governor use several pens to sign the legislation, whose passage was all but impossible before the church shootings. The governor praised the dead for changing the debate about the flag and race relations.  “These nine pens are going to the families of the Emanuel Nine,” Haley said after signing the bill into law. “Nine amazing individuals who have forever changed South Carolina history.

Continue reading “South Carolina Gov. Signs Law to Remove Confederate Flag; Signing Pens to Go to Church Shooting Victims’ Families”

WAVE GOODBYE! South Carolina House Votes to Remove Confederate Flag From Capitol Grounds

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

Updated at 2:15 a.m. ET Thursday: Final Vote

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 goes to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk. 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.

Original Post:

The idea of removing the Confederate battle flag from a prominent place in front of South Carolina’s Statehouse gets a crucial test Wednesday, when the state House of Representatives votes on a bill that would put the flag in a relic room.

Today’s vote is pivotal: under South Carolina’s legislative system, bills must be read and voted upon three times. The first vote is normally to introduce the bill; that happened Tuesday, after it was approved by the Senate. The third vote is often a formality.

By mid-day, the bill had been stalled by a host of amendments offered by opponents to removing the Confederate banner. One measure calls for planting flowers in the spot where the flag now flies.

We’ll update this post with news from Columbia, S.C., where the House is considering the bill. The action comes two weeks after Gov. Nikki Haley and other leaders called for the flag to come down.

article by Bill Chappell via npr.org

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley Orders Removal of All Four Confederate Flags from State Capitol Grounds

MERY, Ala. — With no fanfare, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered the removal of four Confederate flags from a memorial at the Alabama State Capitol on Wednesday amid a growing controversy over their official display in the wake of the killing of African Americans at a South Carolina church.

The first to be taken down was the so-called battle flag, followed by the First National Confederate flag, known as the “Stars and Bars,” the Second National Confederate Flag and the Third National Confederate Flag. All four had been removed by 10 a.m.

“The governor does not want the flag to be a distraction,” said Jennifer Ardis, a spokeswoman for Bentley. “There are a lot of other things we are focused on. We have a tremendous budget issue.”

Five workers, including two wearing yellow “landscape operations” tee-shirts, unceremoniously removed the flags by first lowering separate flag poles, then unsnapping and folding up the individual banners. As a handful of photographers recorded the scene, the men worked quickly, without comment, then left the enclosed area around the monument, locking the gate to the small fence behind them.

The flags were hung at the Alabama Confederate Memorial in 1994, a year after then-Gov. Jim Folsom Jr., ordered the removal of a battle flag that had flown over the state Capitol since 1963.

Meanwhile, Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi’s Republican senator, said Wednesday that it is his “personal hope” that the state would consider changing its flag, which depicts the Confederate battle flag in its upper left corner.

“The recent debate on the symbolism of our flag, which belongs to all of us, presents the people of our state a opportunity to consider a new banner that represents Mississippi,” he said in a statement. He added that he agrees with his fellow senator from Mississippi, Roger Wicker, also a Republican, that “we should look for unity and not divisiveness in the symbols of our state.

Continue reading “Alabama Governor Robert Bentley Orders Removal of All Four Confederate Flags from State Capitol Grounds”

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Finally Agrees Confederate Flag at State Capitol Must be removed

“This has been a very difficult time for our state,” Haley said. “We have stared evil in the eye. … Our state is grieving, but we are also coming together.”

“Today, we are here to say it is time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds,” said Haley, surrounded by top leaders including U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both Republicans like the governor. The other politicians broke out in cheers during the announcement.

The decision follows days of protests inside the state and growing pressure on Republican leaders to back away from the flag.  Roof, 21, is being held on nine murder charges in connection with the shooting last Wednesday. Pictures of Roof have surfaced showing the high school dropout with the flag.

Though she sharply condemned the alleged shooter, Haley noted that the flag represents many positive things for people in her state.  “The hate-filled murderer has a sick and twisted view of the flag,” she said, adding, “we have changed through the times and we will continue to do so, but that doesn’t mean we forget our history.”

In calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from state grounds, Haley said: “My hope is that moving a symbol that divides we can move forward and honor the nine blessed souls who are in heaven.”

Religious and political leaders including Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said earlier Monday that they would push for the flag’s removal when the Legislature returns.  Riley has led protest marches against the flag and has called for its removal from state grounds before.

“The time has come for the Confederate battle flag to move from a public position in front of the state Capitol to a place of history,” Riley said at a televised news conference. The flag “was appropriated years and years ago as a symbol of hate,” Riley said, and should be moved to a museum.

The Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III of the National Action Network said the flag should be removed before the body of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in the attack, lies in state on Wednesday. Pinckney was also pastor of Emanuel AME.

Republicans, who control South Carolina’s state Legislature, have rebuffed many previous calls to remove the flag, which dates from the Civil War. For civil rights activists and many others, the flag is a racist symbol of the state’s slave past.  The flag has also been adopted by some white supremacist groups in modern times.

Continue reading “South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Finally Agrees Confederate Flag at State Capitol Must be removed”

EDITORIAL: What We Can Do to Move Forward From Charleston

Nine victims of the Charleston church shooting. Top row: Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton Middle row: Daniel Simmons, Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders Bottom row: Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson Via Facebook and Getty Images
Nine victims of the Charleston church shooting. Top row: Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton Middle row: Daniel Simmons, Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders Bottom row: Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson (Photos via Facebook and Getty Images)

First and foremost, all of us at Good Black News are heartbroken over the loss of the nine precious lives taken this week by senseless, hateful murder at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and our sympathies and prayers go out to the families and loved ones most acutely affected by this domestic terrorism.  Even though you may already know the names of the unintended martyrs, they bear repeating, and often, so we never forget: Rev. Clementa PinckneyCynthia HurdSusie Jackson, Tywanza SandersSharonda Coleman-SingletonDaniel L. SimmonsEthel Lee LanceMyra Thompson, and Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor.

We call them martyrs because they are now part of the unfortunately long lineage of named and unnamed African-Americans subjected to racially-motivated violence in the United States.  From enslaved persons who died on slave ships in the Middle Passage, to persons enslaved in the colonies, to Reconstruction, to the Jim Crow era, to the Civil Rights movement and up through today, the pattern is plain: you are black, you are hated, your life doesn’t matter, you die violently.

I have spent a lot of time this past week reading and watching coverage of this national tragedy, not only to gather as much information as possible, but also to process and attempt to think of the right words to share on how to move forward in a positive manner, as that is overriding philosophy and mission of Good Black News.  I do think it is crucial first, however, to talk about WHERE this happened, HOW it happened and WHY it happened.

South Carolina State Capitol Building (top left); Mammy magnets for sale to Charleston tourists (top right); bumper sticker souvenir (bottom)
South Carolina State Capitol Building (top left); Mammy magnets for sale to Charleston tourists (top right); bumper sticker souvenir (bottom)

As everyone knows by now, South Carolina so proudly claims its antebellum history that the Confederate flag still flies on its State Capitol building.  The battle at Fort Sumpter in 1861, right outside of Charleston, which occurred not long after South Carolina seceded from the Union, set off the Civil War.  Tourist shops in Charleston casually sell merchandise such as mammy magnets and confederate bumper stickers, which are symbols of racial oppression to my eyes, but symbols of “the good ol’ days” to others.

The other “where” in this situation is specifically the Emanuel AME Church.  The history of this church is steeped in the fight for African-Americans to create their own place of worship and the freedom to express their humanity.  One of the church founders, Denmark Vesey, attempted in 1822 to organize a slave rebellion from this space, which, although thwarted, created mass hysteria among the slave owners in the Carolinas and lead to the church being burned.  It has been rebuilt several times and stands as a consistent symbol of black pride, resistance and fortitude.  So the choice of this place for this action makes it clear this was a targeted, racially-motivated attack.

CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 18:  People stand outside the Emanuel AME Church after a mass shooting at the church that killed nine people on June 18, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina. A 21-year-old suspect, Dylann Roof of Lexington, South Carolina, was arrersted Thursday during a traffic stop. Emanuel AME Church is one of the oldest in the South. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC – JUNE 18: People stand outside the Emanuel AME Church after a mass shooting at the church that killed nine people (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

On Wednesday night, in the spirit of fellowship, church members welcomed Dylann Roof, the unfamiliar stranger who would become their assassin, to join and participate in their bible study.  He took advantage of their compassion and open hearts to forward a racist agenda that is centuries-old and still pervasive in the DNA of this country, and particularly so in South Carolina and the South.  In the 1960s, people didn’t call the killers of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., or the four African-American girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama “mentally insane.”  They called them what they were – Klan members and/or racists.  So regardless of whether or not Roof has mental problems, his racism and desire for racial supremacy is the primary motivation behind his actions.

So, clearly knowing all of that, what are some positive, actionable ways we can move forward as a nation, in our communities and in our personal lives from this horrific event?

  1. Petition/protest/vote for removals of all symbols of oppression and hate from government buildings, streets, tourist centers and shops.
  2. Contribute to the donation fund set up for the families of the victims of the Emanuel AME shootings.
  3. Support/join organizations such as the NAACP, ACLU or the National Urban League, that are dedicated to protesting racial injustice and empowering minorities.
  4. Educate all children of all colors and creeds about the racial history of the United States from slavery to the present and call it what it is. Visit civil rights museums.  Read, know and learn the history.   Just as Jewish peoples around the world make sure each generation “never forgets” the Holocaust – so should we never forget about American racial injustice.
  5. Keep calling out and protesting current injustices – we need to keep filming and reporting and being sources for unjust police actions, racial disparities in the workplace and even in our personal conversations.  Let’s not be Roof’s friend Joseph Meek Jr.,who now regrets not checking his friend more thoroughly about his racist vitriol.
  6. Love. Find forgiveness in our hearts just as the family members of several of the victims are doing for the assailant.  Meeting hate with hate solves nothing.

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Good Black News Founder and Editor-in-Chief

California Passes Ban on Confederate Flag

Starting next year, the Confederate flag will no longer be available for sale or on display at government agencies in California. Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law that prohibits selling or displaying items that have the flag on it.The law was introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Isadore Hall of Compton after his mom saw a replica Confederate at the Capitol gift shop. As a person of color, Hall says the state should avoid promoting symbols of racism. The gift shop no longer displays or sells the item.

Since it applies only to formal actions of government officials, lawmakers say the new law doesn’t violate free speech. More than this, it is still allowed for the flag to be displayed for educational purposes, like in museums or books.

Taking effect in January, the law also does not apply to people who protest or enter state property.

article via thegrio.com