Tag: removal of 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

South Carolina Senate Votes to Remove Confederate Flag From State Capitol Grounds; House Vote Still Needed

Calls For Removal Of Confederate Flag Outside SC Statehouse Grow In Wake Of Race-Fueled Charleston Church Shooting

UPDATE: Monday, July 6, 2015 4:50 PM EST

In a 37-3 vote, the South Carolina Senate decided to remove the Confederate flag from State House grounds.  But the physical act of removing the flag may take some time, NBC notes.

The movement to take down the flag has two more hurdles: The bill needs to pass with a two-thirds vote in the South Carolina House, which is likely to be a tougher struggle than in the Senate. Several powerful House Republicans, including Speaker Jay Lucas, have not yet said how they’ll vote. If the bill passes the house, it would head to the desk of Gov. Nikki Haley, who has said the flag’s removal would be a way to honor the nine black victims gunned down by a white gunman at a Charleston church.

This is a developing story…

————

Weeks after a gunman shot nine people in a racially fueled attack on Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME church, South Carolina lawmakers are set to debate whether to remove the Confederate battle flag from State House grounds, or leave it flying high.

The debate to remove the flag was sparked after photographs of accused AME gunman Dylann Roof holding the storied and hurtful reminder surfaced. Days after the shooting, Gov. Nikki R. Haley called for the flag’s removal.

In a weekend interview with NBC’s Today Show, Haley said the removal would be an action of respect.

“You always want to think that today is better than yesterday — that we’re growing as a state, we’re growing as a country. When something like this happens, you reflect, and you say: Have we changed enough?” she said.

“I don’t think this is going to be easy. I don’t think that it’s going to be painless, but I do think that it will be respectful, and that it will move swiftly.”

According to the New York Times, the State Senate, composed of other elected officials who stand with Haley, will consider a bipartisan proposal to remove the flag.

If the Senate approves the measure, the debate will shift to the House; Republicans control both chambers. A survey of lawmakers by The Associated Press, the South Carolina Press Association, and The Post and Courier, a newspaper in Charleston, found last month that there was most likely enough support in the legislature to approve the plan.

There are, however, dissenters, the Times points out.

“This flag is a part of our heritage, so the people of this state should have the final say,” Mr. Bright, a Republican of Spartanburg County, told supporters on Facebook on Wednesday. Mr. Bright, who sought the Republican nomination for a United States Senate seat last year, is also offering bumper stickers featuring the Confederate emblem and the message “Keep your hands off my flag” in exchange for campaign contributions.

A recent CNN poll echoes Bright’s sentiments — at least 57 percent of Americans see the flag as a symbol of Southern pride, not racism. But the flag, which flew high during a war fought to defend and justify slavery, dredges up the painful and horrific past of African-Americans in this country. On June 27, community organizer, activist, singer and North Carolina native Brittany “Bree” Newsome was arrested after she took it upon herself to scale the pole and remove the flag from State House grounds herself.

article by Christina Coleman via newsone.com

Bree Newsome Speaks For The 1st Time After Taking Down Confederate Flag from State Capitol

Activist Bree Newsome Takes Down Confederate Flag from South Carolina State Capitol grounds (Photo via bluenationreview.com)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Over the weekend, a young freedom fighter and community organizer mounted an awe-inspiring campaign to bring down the Confederate battle flag. Brittany “Bree” Newsome, in a courageous act of civil disobedience, scaled a metal pole using a climbing harness, to remove the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol. Her long dread locks danced in the wind as she descended to the ground while quoting scripture. She refused law enforcement commands to end her mission and was immediately arrested along with ally James Ian Tyson, who is also from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bree Newsome arrest feature

Earlier this week, social justice activist and blogger Shaun King offered a “bounty” on the flag and offered to pay any necessary bail bond fees. Newsome declined the cash reward, asking that all proceeds go to funds supporting victims of the Charleston church massacre. Social media users raised more than $75,000 to fund legal expenses. South Carolina House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, a renowned defense attorney, has agreed to represent Newsome and Tyson as they face criminal charges.

Newsome released the following statement exclusively to Blue Nation Review:

Now is the time for true courage.

I realized that now is the time for true courage the morning after the Charleston Massacre shook me to the core of my being. I couldn’t sleep. I sat awake in the dead of night. All the ghosts of the past seemed to be rising.

Not long ago, I had watched the beginning of Selma, the reenactment of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and had shuddered at the horrors of history.

But this was neither a scene from a movie nor was it the past. A white man had just entered a black church and massacred people as they prayed. He had assassinated a civil rights leader. This was not a page in a textbook I was reading nor an inscription on a monument I was visiting.

This was now.

This was real.

This was—this is—still happening.

I began my activism by participating in the Moral Monday movement, fighting to restore voting rights in North Carolina after the Supreme Court struck down key protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

I traveled down to Florida where the Dream Defenders were demanding justice for Trayvon Martin, who reminded me of a modern-day Emmett Till.

I marched with the Ohio Students Association as they demanded justice for victims of police brutality.

I watched in horror as black Americans were tear-gassed in their own neighborhoods in Ferguson, MO. “Reminds me of the Klan,” my grandmother said as we watched the news together. As a young black girl in South Carolina, she had witnessed the Klan drag her neighbor from his house and brutally beat him because he was a black physician who had treated a white woman.

I visited with black residents of West Baltimore, MD who, under curfew, had to present work papers to police to enter and exit their own neighborhood. “These are my freedom papers to show the slave catchers,” my friend said with a wry smile.

And now, in the past 6 days, I’ve seen arson attacks against 5 black churches in the South, including in Charlotte, NC where I organize alongside other community members striving to create greater self-sufficiency and political empowerment in low-income neighborhoods.

Continue reading “Bree Newsome Speaks For The 1st Time After Taking Down Confederate Flag from State Capitol”

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”