South carolina confederate flag
South carolina confederate flag

South Carolina House Vote Clears A Path For Confederate Flag's Removal

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In only a matter of days, the Confederate Flag will no longer wave before the South Carolina statehouse, marking the end of an era of racist symbology that has lasted for over 50 years. On Wednesday, lawmakers in the state's House of Representatives voted by a 94-20 margin to remove the flag from its pole. The South Carolina senate has already voted to do the same, and governor Nikki Haley has stated that she supports the measure and will make it a reality.

The New York Times reports that Haley will sign the new bill into law at 4 p.m. Thursday. From that point, the state will have 24 hours to take down the flag; it will be moved to the state's Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, which is located near the Capitol building. “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 one state,” Governor Haley said in a statement following the House's vote.

Passionate debate from those hoping to banish the Confederate flag was heard in the House's champers in the hours leading up to the vote. Throughout the discussion, the massacre of nine black members of the Emanuel Church in Charleston at the hands of racist killer Dylann Roof. "It’s unfortunate that such a tragic event was required to bring about change, but in the end, if any good came of it, it’s that we put a contentious issue behind us,” Republican Representative James H. Merrill told the Times.

But perhaps the most impassioned appeal for the removal of the vestigial Civil War banner came from Rep. Jenny Anderson Horne, another Republican lawmaker who broke out in tears as she voiced her support for the measure. “I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful, such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday,” Horne said, breaking down as she argued for the removal of amendments that might have possible stalled, or sunk, the bill. “If we amend this bill, we are telling the people of Charleston, ‘We don’t care about you. We do not care that somebody used this symbol of hate to slay (nine) innocent people who were worshiping their God.’”

The South Carolina Post and Courier reports that a vote finally came after over 10 hours of debate. "I think it’s good for the state of South Carolina,” Merrill told the paper. “It needed to happen.” Watch Rep. Horne's impassioned speech calling for the flag's removal below, and be prepared for historic footage of the Confederate Flag's lowering to flash around the world in the next two days.