Tag Archives: Confederate flag

The KKK and the New Black Panther Party clash in South Carolina

This past weekend the KKK and the New Black Panther Party clashed in South Carolina. The Klan was protesting the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse. Whoever approved the rallies for both of of these groups at the same time must have lost their minds. According to reports the crowds at the rallies had about 2,000 people.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — With police officers watching from nearby rooftops and a din of racial slurs heard on the pavement below, members of the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party appeared at dueling rallies outside the South Carolina State House on Saturday, eight days after officials here removed the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds.

Despite sporadic scuffles and hours of inflammatory rhetoric from white and black demonstrators alike, the authorities largely maintained order and prevented any significant violence. The police made five arrests, and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety estimated that the State House crowd, including onlookers, had at one point swelled to about 2,000 people. They chanted — or at least heard — volleys of incendiary speech and shouts of “white power!” and “black power!”

Bystanders watched people wave flags celebrating Pan-Africanism, the Confederacy and the Nazi Party. And they watched as black demonstrators raised clenched fists, and white demonstrators performed Nazi salutes.

Before the flag came down Confederate flag defenders were saying that the flag was about heritage not hate. Yet at the rally the KKK were hollering white power and performing Nazi salutes while carrying the flag.   That sounds like hate to me. The Klan didn’t wear their usual sheet and hoods. At Saturday’s rally they let you know who they were.  They’re also the oldest terrorist group in the United States.

Saturday’s protesters, who were predominantly men, did not don the Klan’s traditional white hoods and robes. Even as they denied being members of a hate group, their message was a relentless one of white supremacy.

“This is my country,” one shouted at a group of black onlookers. “My ancestors founded this country!”

“Peace is over with,” said William Bader, who said he was a Kentucky resident and the imperial wizard of the Trinity White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “There is no peace.”

Mr. Bader, who said he planned to wear his Klan regalia for a cross burning on Saturday night, added, “What do I want to see happen? White revolution is the only solution.”

Check out the New York Times to read the entire article.

The Confederate flag finally comes down

The Confederate battle flag flown in front of the state Capitol in South Carolina is finally down. Welcome to the 21st century South Carolina!!  A brief ceremony started at 10:00am this morning. After more than 50 years the flag was lowered.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Closing a chapter on a symbol of the Deep South and its history of resistance and racial animus, South Carolina on Friday lowered the Confederate battle flag from outside its State House, where it had flown for more than 50 years.

The flag came down amid heavy security and loud cheers at a Friday morning event that followed days of emotional debate in the State Legislature and, on Thursday, the final approval of Gov. Nikki R. Haley, who had pledged that the symbol would be lowered “with dignity.”

Shielded across the decades by both Democrats and Republicans, the flag left its pole outside the State House only 23 days after nine black churchgoers were killed at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The flag, which flew above the State House before it was moved in 2000 to a spot next to the Confederate Soldier Monument, had long been a subject of deep disagreements and public protests. But it was the June 17 massacre at the church, which the authorities have described as a hate crime, that provoked Ms. Haley and scores of other elected officials in both parties to demand the battle flag’s removal.

While watching the video you can hear the chants of U.S.A. and then the crowd broke out into Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye by the group Steam.

After the flag was lowered it was folded by members of the South Carolina Highway Patrol Honor Guard.  It was then handed over to fellow Honor Guard Lt. Derrick Gamble who was the last person to handle the flag.

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COLUMBIA — There was no denying it was a powerful sight:

Lt. Derrick Gamble, a black man, carrying away the Confederate battle flag forever from the place where it flew for more than 50 years. A symbol of division, a reminder of a painful past, rolled tightly with a ribbon in the palms of his gloved hands.

Humbled and poised in his crisp gray uniform, Gamble said his role in Friday’s Honor Guard ceremony permanently furling the rebel banner was just “another mission.”

“To me, maybe it hasn’t sunk in,” he said, “but it’s just part of what we do.”

The flag has been moved to the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum which is located near the Capitol.

I’m happy to see that the flag is finally down but why did it take the massacre of nine people in a church to make it happen?

Governor Nikki Haley signs bill to take that Confederate flag down

Earlier today South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill ordering the removal of the Confederate battle flag that is currently flying near the state Capitol in Columbia, South Carolina.

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COLUMBIA — Using 13 pens — nine for the families of the victims of the Charleston church killings last month — Gov. Nikki Haley on Thursday signed a historic measure that will remove the Statehouse’s Confederate battle flag

The flag will be lowered tomorrow morning at 10:00am and taken to a museum in Columbia, South Carolina. It’s about time. While some folks claim it’s a part of their heritage to me it represents hate, oppression and defiance against civil rights.

Haley was surrounded by the relatives, dozens of lawmakers, three former South Carolina governors and civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson, as she signed the bill on the second floor of the Capitol under the dome from which the Confederate flag had flown for decades. Lawmakers broke into applause when Haley finished signing the bill.

Haley and political, business and community leaders statewide had called for removing the flag amid the mourning for the nine churchgoers, including pastor and state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, slain by a white gunman at Emanuel AME Church in what authorities have called a racially motivated hate crime.

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The bill passed the South Carolina Senate by a vote of 36-3. But when it moved to the House there was strong resistance. As expected some members talked about how the flag was a part of their heritage and of course it had nothing to do with slavery. But then a miracle happened. House member Jenny Horne insisted that her House colleagues approve the bill for the families of the nine victims. Jenny Horne is a descendant of Jefferson Davis.

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The 42-year-old lawyer from Summerville stepped up to the podium and delivered words so raw and impassioned they would immediately go viral on the Internet. More important, her four-minute speech would alter the course of the debate, and with it, South Carolina history. The state where the Civil War began, where Strom Thurmond presided as governor, and father of the segregationist Dixiecrats, a state steeped proudly in history and its symbols, disavowed the most freighted symbol of them all, the Confederate flag.

“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, shouting through tears. “For the widow of Senator Pinckney and his two young daughters, that would be adding insult to injury.”

Horne’s fiery speech, bolstered by her reminder that Confederate president Jefferson Davis was her ancestor, injected new energy into what appeared to be a flagging take-down-the-flag faction and helped pave the way for a 1 a.m. vote to remove the flag from the state capitol.

Amazingly, Horne said her powerful words were not planned.

“At that point we were losing the vote. It was going south,” she told The Washington Post in an interview shortly after the historic vote. “If what I did changed the course of the debate, and I do believe it did, then it needed to be done. Because that flag needed to come down a long time ago.”

“That flag needed to come down a long time ago.”  Alright Jenny Horne. I know she pissed off some folks 🙂

Jenny Horne wasn’t finished:

Her voice hoarse from shouting, Horne told The Post she was simply fed up with the obstructionist tactics from members of her own Republican Party.

“I thought the stall tactics were childish,” she said. “It turned into an endurance contest and we spent I don’t know how many hours doing something that the Senate did in a fraction of the time and I, quite frankly, was insulted.

“We had spent an entire day trying to slow this bill down and bog it down and force it to conference committee and drag this debate out for weeks and weeks and weeks, and I had just decided that it was time that somebody stood up and said what was the real issue here.

“The real issue is that that flag is a symbol of hate and it’s on a public ground where people, the entire state, they own that state house,” she continued. “That is public property. And to me, if that flag offends a percentage of our citizenry, including the people in Charleston, then we owed it to them to act in accordance with the Senate to take it down in a unified fashion.”

Check out her speech in this video.

Thank you for speaking up Jenny Horne.

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Check out the articles about Governor Nikki Haley and Jenny Horne.

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Meet Karen Cooper- Another black defender of the Confederate flag

Last week I blogged about a young black male named Byron Thomas who spoke about his love for the Confederate flag. Well today I read about another black Confederate flag lover. Her name is Karen Cooper.

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The Washington Post has an article about Karen Cooper and her love for the Confederate flag.  Where does the Washington Post find these people?

Karen Cooper was born in New York but now lives in Virginia. She’s also a former Nation of Islam member. Karen is a Tea Party supporter who’s a member of a group called the Virginia Flaggers.

For many Americans, the Confederate battle flag is an unmistakable symbol of slavery and oppression.

But for Karen Cooper, a black woman who was born in New York but later settled in Virginia, the flag embodies something else entirely.

“I actually think that it represents freedom,” the ardent tea party supporter says in a video interview that’s been making the rounds online. “It represents a people who stood up to tyranny.”

Cooper is a member of the Virginia Flaggers, an activist group that rejects the idea that the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and hate.

The group was formed in response to a decision to remove Confederate flags from public view in several locations, including a Confederate memorial chapel on the grounds of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond and city light poles in Lexington, The Washington Post’s Susan Svrluga reported last year.

Like the rest of the Flaggers’ 40 or so members, Cooper feels pride and reverence each time she displays the flag in public.

If the flag was a racist symbol, Cooper argues in the video, she wouldn’t be an accepted member of a group composed primarily of white Southerners.

I had to watch the video several times cause I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I gave girlfriend the side eye when she said this:

Besides, she adds, slavery is “a choice.”

“I say that because of what Patrick Henry said: ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’ To me, if we had went back to that kind of slavery, no I couldn’t do it. Give me death.”

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Since when was slavery a choice? Has Karen Cooper read any black history books lately? And how does one go from NOI to a Confederate flag waving Virginia Flagger?

In one week we’ve gone from the courageous Bree Newsome:

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To the Confederate flag waving Karen Cooper:

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It would be interesting if Bree and Karen met to discuss the Confederate flag. Bree would be like this:

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Also mentioned in the article is a video that Karen is featured in called Battle Flag.  It’s a documentary about the place and meaning of the Confederate Battle Flag 150 years after the Civil War.  I must really be out of the loop. Since when did Kanye West start wearing a Confederate flag?

Karen isn’t the only person mentioned in the Washington Post article. African American Alabama native Courtney Daniels wrote a column in AL.com defending the Confederate flag.  You can read his column here.

 

Activist Bree Newsome releases first statement since her Confederate flag takedown

This past Saturday morning North Carolina activist Bree Newsome climbed a 30 foot flag pole in Columbia, South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from in front of the state house.

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Note: “Wonder Bree” Rebecca Cohen/http://rebeccacohenart.tumblr.com
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Bree was arrested but released later that day. A crowdfunding campaign so far has collected over $116,000 to help with Bree’s legal fees.

Today Bree released a statement to Blue Nation Review which was posted by Goldie Taylor:

Now is the time for true courage.

I realized that now is the time for true courage the morning after the Charleston Massacre shook me to the core of my being. I couldn’t sleep. I sat awake in the dead of night. All the ghosts of the past seemed to be rising.

Not long ago, I had watched the beginning of Selma, the reenactment of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and had shuddered at the horrors of history.

But this was neither a scene from a movie nor was it the past. A white man had just entered a black church and massacred people as they prayed. He had assassinated a civil rights leader. This was not a page in a textbook I was reading nor an inscription on a monument I was visiting.

This was now.

This was real.

This was—this is—still happening.

You can read her entire statement at Blue Nation Review.

Director Ava Duvernay has already tweeted her support for Bree and would like to direct a movie about this real black female superhero.  Excellent idea.

Activist Bree Newsome takes down the Confederate flag

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.

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Thirty year old North Carolina activist Bree Newsome stated that people are tired of waiting for the flag to be removed.

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“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.

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You can read more about Bree Newsome at Rollingout.com.

Byron Thomas talks about why he supports the Confederate flag

Byron Thomas, a black South Carolinian, wrote a column in the Washington Post today about why he supports the Confederate flag.

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Byron states that the flag represents his heritage and regional pride.  One of his ancestors was a black Confederate cook and he doesn’t want to turn his back on his ancestors service to the South.

Four years ago, I became a national news story after I hung a Confederate flag in my dorm room window at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Controversy wasn’t my intention. For me and many Southerners, the flag celebrates my heritage and regional pride. One of my ancestors, Benjamin Thomas, was a black Confederate cook, and I do not want to turn my back on his service to the South. So I hang the flag in honor of his hard work and dedication to South Carolina during the Civil War.

My Confederate flag isn’t racist; after all, I am black. I’m also an American who strongly believes in the constitutional right to free speech. I fought back against the university’s demand that I take my flag down simply because others view it as a symbol of racism. I fought back against the racist interpretation of the flag and I won.

Now there’s a similar debate about the Confederate flag that flies over South Carolina’s statehouse. In the wake of the Charleston church shooting and pictures of the accused killer posing with the Confederate flag, people have demanded the flag be permanently removed from the statehouse grounds. I deeply respect and honor the nine people whose lives were lost in that church, who died with love in their hearts even though evil was among them. I felt that lowering the flag would give power to the racist terrorist who killed them. For a long time, it bothered me that every time someone raised the Confederate flag, someone else fought to have it removed. Racists hijacked the Confederate flag, and by effectively banning it on college campuses and government grounds, we would allow them to keep it.

Mr. Thomas realizes that the Confederate flag causes a lot of unease among many black South Carolinians and now states that only two flags should be flying on the statehouse grounds: the South Carolina flag and the American flag.

Regardless of what happens at the statehouse, I will continue to hang the Confederate flag in my apartment. Because of that decision, I’ve been called “an Uncle Tom” and “a sellout,” and accused of despising my race. Let me be clear: I love the skin that I am in. God gave me my skin color, but he also gave me freedom to think for myself and the right to stand by my beliefs. My skin color should not determine how I think, what I believe and what flags I hang in my home. This process should teach us all to respect the beliefs of others. I hope those who view the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate will keep open minds to those who view it as a symbol of Southern heritage and history, regardless of their race.

I have never known of a black person who supports or loves the Confederate flag.  That flag is too much of a reminder of the segregated and racist past of the south.  It was also used by racists groups to show their superiority towards blacks.  Even if I did have an ancestor who was on the Confederate side during the Civil War the last thing I would be doing is supporting the Confederate flag.

While checking more info on Google about Mr. Thomas I found this at Newsone:

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Okay.

Check out Byron Thomas’s column at the Washington Post.

Governor Nikki Haley calls for removal of the Confederate flag from state capitol grounds

Yesterday South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announced that the Confederate flag flying over the state capitol should be removed. Governor Haley joined a growing number of political leaders from both parties calling for the removal of the Confederate flag. Confederate_flag Governor_Nikki_Haley

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Nikki R. Haley called on Monday for South Carolina to do what just a week ago seemed politically impossible — remove the Confederate battle flag from its perch in front of the State House building here. She argued that a symbol long revered by many Southerners was for some, after the church massacre in Charleston, a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally offensive past.” “The events of this week call upon us to look at this in a different way,” said Ms. Haley, an Indian-American, who is the first member of an ethnic minority to serve as governor of the state as well as the first woman. She spoke at an afternoon news conference, surrounded by Democratic and Republican lawmakers including both of the state’s United States senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, an African-American. “Today we are here in a moment of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it’s time to move the flag from the capitol grounds,” she said. It was a dramatic turnabout for Ms. Haley, a second-term Republican governor who over her five years in the job has displayed little interest in addressing the intensely divisive issue of the flag. But her new position demonstrated the powerful shock that last Wednesday’s killings at Emanuel A.M.E. Church have delivered to the political status quo, mobilizing leaders at the highest levels.

Removing the flag requires a two thirds vote of each chamber of the South Carolina state legislature. Some members have already stated that they will vote not to remove the flag. Protestors have been very vocal about the removal of the flag since the murders of Reverend Clementa Pinckney and eight church members of Mother Emanuel AME Church last week at the hands of white terrorist Dylann Roof. Many people think of the flag as an old relic from the days of slavery in the Confederate South while supporters of the flag feel that it’s a part of their Southern heritage. The Confederate flag hasn’t always been flown at the State Capitol.  According to Time Magazine:

South Carolina has not always flown the flag. The state’s first modern hoisting of the standard came in 1961, as part of official commemorations of the centennial anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. As K. Michael Prince notes in his book about the relationship between the state and the flag, Rally ’round the Flag, Boys!, the celebrations kicked off in Charleston, where the fighting had begun 100 years earlier. The flag’s place at the Capitol was officially confirmed by the state legislature the following year. Still many historians say the appearance of the flag likely had a more nefarious purpose: to symbolize Southern defiance in the face of a burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. The move was, TIME later noted, “a states’-rights rebuff to desegregation.” “The Confederate flag symbolizes more than the civil war and the slavery era,” wrote James Forman Jr. a professor at Yale Law School, in a law journal article about the flag’s history at state capitols. “The flag has been adopted knowingly and consciously by government officials seeking to assert their commitment to black subordination.”

Included in Dylann Roof’s manifesto was a picture of him waving the Confederate flag and burning the American flag. dylannroof2 dylannroof Last week former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney tweeted that the flag should be removed. Before Governor Haley made her announcement many Republican presidential candidates felt that the removal of the flag was a state issue. Today it was announced that many businesses including WalMart, Ebay, Amazon and Sears would stop selling Confederate flag merchandise.

Entering a debate that has played out for years mostly in the political realm, many of the nation’s largest retailers abruptly decided this week to stop selling merchandise tied to the Confederate battle flag. One by one, beginning with Walmart on Monday night, companies including Sears/Kmart, eBay, Amazon, Etsy and Google Shopping disavowed, sometimes in strong moral terms, merchandise that has been sold quietly for decades. “We have decided to prohibit Confederate flags and many items containing this image because we believe it has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism,” eBay said in a statement, echoing the sentiments of others in the aftermath of the fatal shooting last week of nine black parishioners in a South Carolina church and the arrest of a white suspect.

Despite the news that some companies will stop selling Confederate flag merchandise sales of the flags are booming. The reasons vary from people stocking up for Southern pride to those who want to buy the flag to burn.

The reasons for the purchases varied significantly. One customer at a small Georgia shop told the owner she wanted to line her front yard with Confederate flags. Mr. Van de Putte said a black man had come into Dixie Flags on Monday with his young daughter seeking to buy the biggest Confederate flag in the store. He said he was buying it to burn it.

I’m glad to see the protest against the Confederate flag which is also known as the Battle Flag of Northern Virgina. I never understood why any state would fly a Confederate flag over their state capitol instead of the American flag. The Confederate flag has too much negative history. It may be a source of Southern pride and a cultural symbol for some but it later became the symbol for the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist groups. The flag was also used by states in defiance of the federal government.

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In 1948, Strom Thurmond’s States’ Rights Party adopted the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia as a symbol of defiance against the federal government. What precisely required such defiance? The president’s powers to enforce civil rights laws in the South, as represented by the Democratic Party’s somewhat progressive platform on civil rights. Georgia adopted its version of the flag design in 1956 to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling against segregated schools, in Brown v. Board of Education. The flag first flew over the state capitol in South Carolina in 1962, a year after George Wallace raised it over the grounds of the legislature in Alabama, quite specifically to link more aggressive efforts to integrate the South with the trigger of secession 100 years before — namely, the storming of occupied Fort Sumter by federal troops. Fort Sumter, you might recall, is located at the mouth of Charleston Harbor.

As President Obama stated the Confederate flag belongs in a museum, not in front of a statehouse.

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