Gov. Nikki Haley: Time for the Confederate flag to go
by Leigh Jones
Posted 6/22/15, 05:06 pm
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has added her voice to the chorus calling for the Confederate flag to disappear from the state Capitol grounds in Columbia.
The banner, now considered a symbol of racism by many, once flew atop the Statehouse but was moved to a nearby monument 15 years ago. Republican leaders, including Haley, defended its presence as a part of the state’s history, until today.
“One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come,” Haley said, surrounded by state and local leaders.
The tide of sentiment against the flag started to change last week when 21-year-old Dylann Roof entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., and killed nine people, including the pastor. Roof, who was arrested less than 24 hours later, left postings on a racist website and told his friends the African-American community was ruining the country.
Earlier today, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the first Republican African-American elected to the Senate from the South since Reconstruction, also called for the Confederate flag’s removal. The state’s other senator, GOP presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham, did the same, although over the weekend he told CNN the flag was “part of who we are.”
The Sons of Confederate Veterans said it would fight any effort to remove the flag, which it sees as a tribute to the Southern soldiers who died during the Civil War.
On Friday, President Barack Obama will travel to Charleston to attend the funeral for Emanuel AME’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who died during the Wednesday night shooting. Obama will offer the eulogy for the pastor and state senator, whom the Obamas first met and got to know during the 2008 presidential campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.