Three weeks after a racially motivated massacre in a black church in Charleston, S.C., the Confederate battle flag will no longer fly on the grounds of the South Carolina State House, following a bitter debate over its role as a symbol of racism and hate.
The shooting that left nine dead at Emanuel AME Church and subsequent images of the alleged gunman holding the battle flag set off a national debate about the flag’s meaning and history. On Thursday, Gov. Nikki Haley (R) signed legislation to remove the flag, which has flown over the capitol’s dome or on its grounds since 1961.
The furor over the flag rippled through the halls of Congress on Thursday when House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) called for a review of Confederate symbols and memorabilia, which is likely to include those on display in the Capitol.
Boehner was forced to halt consideration of a government funding measure after it became engulfed by the Confederate flag controversy and whether it was appropriate to display the flags at national cemeteries where Confederate soldiers are buried.