Monday, June 22, 2015


In 2000 the State of South Carolina voted on whether to keep the Confederate flag flying over the State House. At the time the American flag flew on top, then the South Carolina State flag and ending with the Confederate flag on the bottom. The majority of South Carolinian's voted to remove it from the State House, I being one of those votes.

After much controversy the State decided to place the Confederate flag on the grounds of the State House. I felt so passionately about the removal of the Confederate flag that I drove from Charleston to Columbia to watch it happen. These photos are a few that I took that day, July 1, 2000. It was one of the most tense things I have witnessed in my life. I was with a friend that was black and we couldn't believe what we were seeing. People were within inches of each other, faces turning red, veins popping out of their necks screaming at one another. The words "racist", "redneck", "N-word Lover", among others were freely thrown about. SWAT lined Gervais Street and all around the State House. The largest Confederate flag I have ever seen was laid out on the Capital steps (I'm trying to locate my pic of that - those were days of actual film!) and we were nervous about what might happen if the angry words turned physical. We made a plan on where we would run to if that happened. Thankfully it never did.


The flag was ceremoniously lowered, a large part of the crowd cheered while the others booed. Within minutes Civil War reenactors were rounding the corner of the building with the flag and proceeded to the newly installed flag pole in front of the Capital building. For those not from the area, if you are coming down Main Street in Columbia toward the State House you end up at the intersection of Gervais and Main. The State House is directly across the street. If you were to cross there, heading toward the front steps of the Capital, you would walk right past the Confederate flag. It's one of the first things you would see. It's right out front.

I have been back and forth with my feelings about this subject and have weighed both arguments heavily. I am fully aware of the history of the flag and I hope that before people jump on any bandwagon they do their research also.

"Heritage not Hate" is what a lot of bumper stickers say in the South but what does that mean? The heritage that people are speaking of is a heritage of oppression, segregation and battles to protect the right to enslave people. This is not a "heritage" that the State of South Carolina should be proud of. It does not represent all of its citizens and should be taken off the lawn of the Capital. Explain this flag any way you want to. Try to convince people that it should be glorified but the simple fact is that it represents a movement of inequality.

That's not something to celebrate. That's something to be ashamed of.   It's time to take it down.


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