Early this morning a mysterious young lady was seen scaling the 30 foot flag pole in front of the state house in Columbia, South Carolina and removed the Confederate battle flag.
Thirty year old North Carolina activist Bree Newsome stated that people are tired of waiting for the flag to be removed.
“We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer,” Bree Newsome, 30, said in a statement released by activist group Blackbird, which was helping out with press but did not facilitate the event itself. “We can’t continue like this another day. It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”
Bree was arrested along with fellow activist James Tyson and charged with defacing a monument.
The charge is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $5,000, an imprisonment term of up to three years or both. James Ian Tyson, a 30-year-old from Charlotte, was also charged in the incident.
Unfortunately the flag was back up less than an hour later. After her arrest it didn’t take long for Twitter to respond and a crowdfunding campaign has so far raised over $64,000.
The hashtags #FreeBree and #keepitdown have been trending since this morning. I don’t blame Bree for what she did. Now here is a real superwoman.
According to some of Bree’s former classmates in Columbia, Maryland they weren’t surprised to hear about Bree taking the flag down.
“This is what she was destined to do,” said Amy Adler, who sang in the school choir with Newsome. “She literally took [the flag] into her own hands, which is very much what she does. She has a very on-the-ground, hands-on approach to change. I wish more people had her energy.”
Bree graduated from Oakland Mills High School in 2003.
Newsome graduated in 2003 from Oakland Mills, where she was known as Brittany. She was active in student government, serving as president of her class for her first three years and president of the student body as a senior, according to the high school yearbook.
“It stood out how smart she was,” said Ryan Fox, 33, of Columbia, who graduated ahead of Newsome.
A classically trained musician, Newsome performed in musicals, starring as Dorothy in “The Wiz” and Rosie in “Bye Bye Birdie.” She went on to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied film.
Newsome’s father, Clarence G. Newsome, is a former dean at Howard University, trustee of Duke University and now president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
You can read more about Bree Newsome at Rollingout.com.