Just after dawn this morning, activist and North Carolina educator Bree Newsome climbed a 30-foot flag pole and snatched the Confederate flag down from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds.
As officers repeatedly asked, “Ma’am, please come down off the pole,” Newsome quoted scripture on her descent, including verses from Psalms: “The Lord is my light, and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?”
Activists on the ground can be heard chanting, “We have nothing to lose but our chains!”
The Confederate flag, literally enshrined in the Charleston capital grounds because it cannot be lowered by regular means, is seen as a taunting slap in the face to African Americans, many of whom know it to be a symbol of segregation, white supremacy and violence. The social media petitions of #TakeItDown and #KeepItDown speak to the movements to remove the flag, especially from government institutions.
The New York Daily News reports:
A group of about 10 activists orchestrated the flag’s removal after police say white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine people at Bible study at “Mother” Emanuel Church in Charleston.
“We didn’t see it fit to have the flag stand erect while the people who were massacred were laid to rest under it,” organizer Tamika Lewis told the Daily News as the funerals of the victims started this week.
“We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer,” Newsome said in a press release. “We can’t continue like this another day. It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”
According to the News, the flag went back up this morning.