In a vote on Thursday of 94–20, South Carolina’s House of Representative came to the agreement to lower and remove the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds. And on Friday morning, the flag was officially taken down after more than 50 years since it was raised in protest of the civil rights movement.
The lowering of the Confederate flag follows the massacre of nine black parishioners at a prayer meeting in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church three weeks ago.
“Twenty-two days ago, I didn’t know that I would ever be able to say this again, but today, I am very proud to say that it is a great day in South Carolina,” said Gov. Nikki Haley during the flag’s bill signing ceremony on Thursday – where family members of the people killed in the Charleston shooting were also in attendance.
Though there’s been a divide in whether or not the Confederate flag should be lowered, the removal of it during Friday’s event was met with cheers and chants of “take it down!”
The flag will now be housed at the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, which is a state museum near the Capitol – and its pole will also be removed from the State House grounds.
The Confederate flag removal ceremony saw a large number of people waiting to bear witness to the event, with some waiting in the heat on lawn chairs they brought from home.
“I thought about all of the African-Americans that lost their lives because of the flag, because of the hatred that this flag symbolizes,” said Theresa Burgess, a 48-year-old kindergarten teacher from Florence County who arrived at the State House a little after 6 a.m. “I knew that a lot of Americans would have loved to be here today.”
President Obama also shared his thoughts on the historic move.
South Carolina taking down the confederate flag – a signal of good will and healing, and a meaningful step towards a better future.
— President Obama (@POTUS) July 10, 2015
[Image via BBC News]