South Carolina Legislature Votes To Remove The Confederate Flag From Statehouse

South Carolina Confederate Flag

The Confederate flag that waves in front of the South Carolina Statehouse, which was originally raised as a protest of the civil rights movement, will soon be removed after more than 50 years there.

A bill to pull down the rebel banner from the Capitol’s front lawn and the flagpole that it flies on passed the South Carolina House early Thursday morning.

The bill should reach Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk before the end of the day, and she has promised to sign it quickly. However, she did not give an exact time or day it would be signed.

Upon the governor’s signing, the bill requires that the flag be taken down within 24 hours. Once removed, the flagged will be shipped to the Confederate Relic Room.

The major push to bring the flag down started after the Charleston Church shooting, where nine churchgoers were gunned done at the historical Emanuel African Episcopal Church on June 17. Days after the massacre, photos of the shooter, Dylann Roof, holding Confederate Flags.

The vote came at about 1 a.m. Thursday morning after more than 13 hours of passionate debate from those who wanted to keep the flag and those who thought it should be removed.

“The whole world is asking, is South Carolina really going to change, or will it hold to an ugly tradition of prejudice and discrimination and hide behind heritage as an excuse for it,” argued Rep. Joe Neal, who has ancestors who were brought to the south as slaves.

An argument that hit more closely to home was given by Republican Rep. Jenny Horne. She reminded her colleagues that though she is a descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, she believed the flag should be removed in honor of Sen. Pinckney, the state legislator and pastor of the church who was murdered along with his members.

“For the widow of Sen. Pinckney and his two young daughters, that would be adding insult to injury and I will not be a part of it!” she yelled into a microphone.

Following the final vote, the governor issued a statement declaring, “It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and on.”

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(Photo Credit:  Sean Rayford/Getty Images)