A look at calls to remove Confederate symbols across South - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

A look at calls to remove Confederate symbols across South

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The Confederate flag flies near the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, SC. AP photo The Confederate flag flies near the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, SC. AP photo
By The Associated Press

In the wake of a massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, a bipartisan mix of officials across Southern states are calling for the removal of Confederate flags and other symbols of the Confederacy.

Here's a look at what's happening and what's being proposed:

South Carolina

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday that the Confederate flag should be removed from the Statehouse grounds, reversing her position on the divisive symbol. Legislative leaders - Republican and Democrat, black and white - joined her for the announcement. "One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come," Haley said. The flag flown in front of the state Capitol for 15 years after being moved from atop the Statehouse dome. Haley's announcement sparked further calls from politicians across the state and country both for South Carolina's flag to come down and for other flags and Confederate symbols to be removed in other states.


Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn said Monday that the Confederate battle emblem is offensive and needs to be removed from the state flag. He said in a statement that remembering the past is important, "but that does not mean we must let it define us." Mississippi voters decided by a 2-to-1 margin in 2001 to keep the state flag, which has a Confederate battle emblem in one of its corners.


Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers called for a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and an early leader in the Ku Klux Klan, to be removed from an alcove outside the Senate chambers at the Statehouse. The bust, inscribed with the words "Confederate States Army," has been at the Capitol for decades.


Virginia will start phasing out license plates with the Confederate flag — a move that follows a shooting massacre in South Carolina and the ensuing debate over a lingering symbol which for many is associated with painful memories of slavery. The decision, announced during an event Tuesday by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, also comes on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week that Texas cannot be required to allow the Confederate flag on car license plates. McAuliffe called the symbolism of the flag "unnecessarily divisive and hurtful."


Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas was within its rights to ban personalized license plates showing the Confederate flag. The court, in a 5-4 decision, rejected a challenge on the grounds of freedom of speech. The Sons of Confederate Veterans had sought a Texas plate bearing its logo with the battle flag. Similar plates are issued by eight other states that were members of the Confederacy and by the state of Maryland. In Virginia, McAuliffe cited this ruling in his call for banning the flag from plates in his state.

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