The Confederate Flag IS DOWN

Photo:John Bazemore/ AP Photo.
Update: As of 10 a.m. this morning, the Confederate flag has been removed from South Carolina capitol grounds.

Update: Governor Nikki Haley has signed the bill allowing the Confederate flag that flies on South Carolina capitol grounds to come down. The flag is scheduled to be lowered and removed on Friday.

The country has spoken, and South Carolina's legislature has finally listened: After a 13-hour debate, the House in the Southern state that has grown notorious for flying the Confederate battle flag on its Capitol grounds voted 94-20 to take it down.

"South Carolina can remove the stain from our lives," Joe Neal, a 64-year-old Black Democrat who has served in the South Carolina House for more than 20 years, said. "I never thought in my lifetime I would see this."

The final step to removing the flag permanently is for Gov. Nikki Haley to sign the bill into law, which she has announced will occur during a 4 p.m. ceremony at the State House.

"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," Haley said in a statement.

The governor reversed her position on the contentious issue just over three weeks ago, after white supremacist Dylann Roof allegedly entered a historic Black church in Charleston, SC, and fatally shot nine members who were participating in Bible study. Following the attack, photographs of Roof toting the Confederate flag appeared on the Internet, inciting public outcry. Major retailers began banishing the symbol from their merchandise, a daring activist named Bree Newsome scaled the Capitol's 30-foot pole to seize the banner herself, and yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives prohibited flying the flag on the grounds of federal Confederate cemeteries.

Since the vote was announced early this morning, people have taken to Twitter to express the popular sentiment that the removal of the flag is both symbolic and long overdue.
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