COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Following the murder of 9 black church members in Charleston at Mother Emanuel AME Church, then Governor Nikki Haley issued an executive order calling for the flag’s removal from the State House grounds.
When the flag was removed, several groups, including the SC Secessionist Party, would return to the State House July 10th to raise the flag again. But this year, a different event was held on the grounds.
Last year, at least a dozen Confederate Flags were on display, the tune of “Dixie” echoed off the State House, and participants were dressed as Confederate soldiers as a small crowd raised the Confederate Flag for the third year in a row.
“Since the flag came down in 2015 Confederate supporters have been every year to raise the flag again,” said Kara Anderson with Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a social justice group.
But on Wednesday a different crowd was at the State House and the change wasn’t a coincidence.
“This year we got the permit to be on the State House grounds and here we’re today to gather as a community,” continued Anderson.
SURJ applied for and received the permit to assemble on the grounds this year.
Ty DePass with Simple Justice said the move by SURJ was strategic.
“We were here the first 2 times outside of the barrier with our own thing. But now grabbing the space and occupying it and making it a public place for progressives and pushing the Neo-Confederates to the side is just a perfect tactic.”
Instead of the flag being raised, the day was used to remember the flag’s removal and honor the Emanuel 9.
Anderson added, “For decades people in South Carolina have worked to get the Confederate Flag off the grounds. A black woman activist actually took down the flag. Then after the Emanuel 9 were killed the flag finally came down.”
Supporters of the Confederate Flag are still expected at the State House to raise the flag, but this year it will be on July 13.