Confederate flag to be removed from South Carolina State House

South Carolina House of Representatives approves bill after 13 hours of debate

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After more than 50 years of flying at the South Carolina State House the Confederate flag is coming down.

The South Carolina House debated for more than 12 hours Wednesday on a bill calling for the flag's removal and passed that bill in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

The state Senate already had passed the bill on Tuesday, meaning that after getting House approval it is now on the desk of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, awaiting a signature.

Governor Haley supports the flag's removal and will hold a bill-signing ceremony on Thursday afternoon. The flag would officially be removed within 24 hours of the governor's signature, CNN reported.

Calls for the flag’s removal have come from Governor Haley, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham — a presidential candidate — and several state lawmakers after a massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on 17 June that left nine black parishioners dead.

The man who has admitted to the shooting, Dylan Roof, allegedly had been spewing racial hate prior to the committing the act and has since surfaced in several photos waving the Confederate flag.

Supporters of the flag say it is a symbol of Southern heritage, not racism, but opponents say it is a painful reminder of a troubling part of American history.

The Charleston shooting launched a wave of support for the removal of the Confederate flag and several large companies have removed items bearing the flag from their shelves.

In the days immediately after the shooting, calls began ringing out for the removal of the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State House, where it has flown since 2000. Prior to that, it was on the dome of the State House.

"I am 44 years old. I never thought I'd see this moment. I stand with people who never thought they would see this as well," Todd Rutherford, a top Democratic state legislator, told the Associated Press.

After the governor signs the bill into law, the Confederate flag will be moved from its post near the State House to the state’s Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in Columbia, the New York Times reported.

Despite widespread political support for the flag's removal, aCNN poll found that 57 per cent of Americans feel that the flag is more a symbol of pride than racism, while 33 per cent said it was more about racism.


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