South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on Monday called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the Statehouse grounds in the wake of last week's racist murders of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston.
The flag, a divisive symbol of South Carolina's racist history, "does not represent the future of our great state," Haley, a Republican, said during a press conference on Monday. "Today, we are here in a moment of unity...to say it's time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds."
Dylann Roof, 21, who has been charged with the murders of nine black men and women attending a Bible study last week at Charleston's Emanuel A.M.E. Church, was seen brandishing the Confederate flag, among other racist symbols, in photographs ahead of the killings.
Civil rights activists, as well as several politicians and President Barack Obama, have called for the flag to be removed in the wake of the murders, a demand which grew after it remained at full mast during a national day of mourning for the victims.
We Interrupt This Article with an Urgent Message!
Common Dreams is a not-for-profit news service. All of our content is free to you - no subscriptions; no ads. We are funded by donations from our readers.
Our critical Mid-Year fundraiser is going very slowly - only 902 readers have contributed so far. We must meet our goal before we can end this fundraising campaign and get back to focusing on what we do best.
Flanked by several members of the state legislature, who applauded her statement, Haley said on Monday, "By removing a symbol of hate that divides us, we can move forward together in harmony."
Those who wish the fly the flag on their private properties would still be able to do so, she added.
"On matters of race, South Carolina has a tough history. We all know that," Haley said. "Many of us have seen it in our own lives...we don't need reminders. In spite of last week's tragedy, we have come a long way since those days and have much to be proud of. But there's more we can do."
This story is developing. Watch reactions on Twitter.