South Carolina has removed a Confederate flag which had been flying on its capitol grounds for the last half century, in a ceremony meant to stem local controversy about the place of the flag’s symbolism in modern America.
The flag, used as a battle standard by Confederate states during the American Civil War, had been on display in front of South Carolina’s Capitol Building since 1961, when it was instated to commemorate a century since the start of the Civil War. At the beginning it used to fly directly under the US flag, until numerous pleads from social equality and civil rights activists had it moved in front a civil war monument, while still on Capitol grounds.
The South Carolina Confederate flag was deposed in a ceremony by an honor guard of state troopers – both white and black, with a crowd of hundreds taking to the streets to chant “U-S-A, U-S-A” and singing the refrain of the famous Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye song by fictitious 60s pop rock band Steam.
The flag was carried by the troopers to Columbia’s State Military Museum, where it will be exhibited in the “relic room”, alongside other artifacts shown to have belonged to Southern Carolina Confederate Soldiers.
President Barack Obama has reeled in the celebratory mood, commending South Carolina officials on the act in a post on Twitter:
„South Carolina taking down the confederate flag — a signal of good will and healing, and a meaningful step towards a better future.”
Amongst those in attendance was also South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, who insisted for a law to depose the flag from capitol grounds be enacted by state legislature. The vote to pass the bill was held on Thursday and ended in nearly-unanimous support for the flag’s removal.
The debate regarding the role of the Confederate battle flag in modern American society has been re-kindled last month after photos a 21 year old man who gunned down 9 people at an African-American Methodist church in Charleston showed him proudly exhibiting and posing with the flag. Many social activists have pointed out to the negative legacy the flag carries, as it represented the union of states which fought against abolition of slavery, a blooming industry in the American South during the 19th century which saw millions of people forcefully deported from Africa to work on plantations or as servants for white masters.
Image Source: Breitbart