P.S.--Speaking of South Carolina: REMEMBER THE ORANGEBURG MASSACRE in 1968!
Bree Newsome Scales Flagpole, Removes South Carolina Capitol Confederate FlagMonday, 29 June 2015
by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Video Interview
Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President and CEO released this statement:
For 15 years, the NAACP has called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag and has maintained economic sanctions against the state of South Carolina. The NAACP, Governor Nikki Haley, a bipartisan coalition of policymakers, an expanding number of American businesses, and a courageous young woman named Bree Newsome are all united in opposition to the Confederate flag. Ms. Newsome temporarily removed the flag flying in front of South Carolina's state house. As well as supporting the permanent removal of the flag legislatively, we commend the courage and moral impulse of Ms. Newsome as she stands for justice like many NAACP activists including Henry David Thoreau, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and numerous Americans who have engaged in civil disobedience. The NAACP calls on state prosecutors to consider the moral inspiration behind the civil disobedience of this young practitioner of democracy. Prosecutors should treat Ms. Newsome with the same large-hearted measure of justice that inspired her actions. The NAACP stands with our youth and behind the multigenerational band of activists fighting the substance and symbols of bigotry, hatred and intolerance."
Around 5:30am this morning Bree Newsome climbed to the top of the flagpole flying the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol, unhooked the flag, and brought it down as police waited to arrest her.
Calls to remove the flag intensified after last week's mass shooting of nine African-American worshipers at the historic Emanuel AME Church. The flag has been the source of controversy for decades in South Carolina, but a growing number of politicians, including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, are calling for its removal after photos were published online showing the accused gunman, Dylann Roof, posing with the flag.
Newsome and others calling themselves "concerned citizens" released a statement explaining, "Deciding to do what the SC Legislature has thus far neglected to do, the group took down the symbol of white supremacy that inspired the massacre, continued to fly at full mast in defiance of South Carolina's grief, and flew in defiance of everyone working to actualize a more equitable Carolinian future."
The state Bureau of Protective Services confirmed Newsome and one other person were arrested. They are charged with defacing a monument, which is a violation of state law 10-11-315. The law has not been used since it was passed in 2000 during another push to remove the flag from the capitol. They face three years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Local newspaper, The State reports:
"At about 7:45 a.m., a maintenance worker and a state security officer, neither of whom would give their names or comment, raised a new banner after removing it from a plastic sheet. The two state employees who arrived on the State House grounds to put the flag back up were African-Americans."Watch all of Democracy Now!'s coverage of the Charleston church shooting and push to remove the confederate flag.
In the interview below, Kevin Alexander Gray, a South Carolina civil rights activist and community organizer says, "People's tax dollars ought not go into supporting the idea of the Confederate States of America." As former president of the state ACLU, he argued, "the flag flying on the statehouse dome was compelled speech. You were compelling people to support an ideology of white supremacy."
Gray & his younger sister Valerie were among the first blacks to attend the local all-white elementary school in 1968. Since then he has been involved in community organizing working on a variety of issues ranging from racial politics, police violence, third-world politics & relations, union organizing & workers’ rights, grassroots political campaigns, marches, actions & political events.
Gray is currently organizing the Harriet Tubman Freedom House Project which focuses on community based political and cultural education. Organizer — National Mobilization Committee Against the Drug War. Former managing & contributing editor of Black News in Columbia. Now serves as contributing writer to other minority newspapers in South Carolina. He served as a national board member of the American Civil Liberties Union for 4 years & is a past eight-term president of the South Carolina affiliate of the ACLU. Advisory board member of DRC Net (Drug Policy Reform Coalition).
In 1997, Gray was an organizer for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s anti-Proposition 209 marches in San Francisco & Sacramento, California.
South Carolina coordinator for the 1988 presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson & 1992 southern political director for the presidential campaign of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. 2002 SC United Citizens’ Party & Green Party Gubernatorial candidate.
Founding member of the National Rainbow Coalition in 1986. Former co-chair of the Southern Rainbow Education Project — a coalition of southern activists. Former contributing editor – Independent Political Action Bulletin.
Gray’s critique “A Call for a New Anti-War Movement” appears in How to Legalize Drugs: Public Health, Social Science and Civil Liberties Perspective edited by Dr. Jefferson Fish of St. John’s University. The book is a collection of works by drug policy reformers across the country. The essay takes a cultural & ideological look at the impact of the “war on drugs” on African Americans. Gray’s “The Legacy of Strom Thurmond” appears in Jack Newfield’s American Monsters, “Soul Brother? Bill Clinton and Black America” appears in Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair’s Dimes Worth of Difference and “What Would Malcolm Say” appears in Peace Not Terror edited by Mary Susannah Robbins.
Gray’s essay on race & politics have appeared in The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy – “The Intensification of Racial Solidarity in the 1990s under the guise of Black Nationalism” (1996); The Progressive Magazine, Counterpunch, The Washington Post Outlook Section, Emerge, One Magazine, The American University Graduate Review & numerous other national, regional & local publications. His current essays on race, politics, cultural and world affairs can be found online at The Progressive, Counterpunch.com, The Black Agenda Report and “Holla If You Hear Me” blog.
Now Available! ~ Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence
Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence was published in early Summer 2014.
Skin privilege. When you’re black it seems the hardest thing to explain to whites. Even the most conscious or liberal whites sometimes don’t quite get it. Or as Langston Hughes once said, “A liberal is one who complains about segregated railroad cars but rides in the all white section.”
The killing of Trayvon Martin in February 2012 rang yet another alarm about the costs of that privilege. Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence tracks the case and explores why Trayvon’s name and George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict symbolized all the grieving, the injustice, the profiling and free passes based on white privilege and police power: the long list of Trayvons known and unknown.
With contributions from Robin D.G. Kelley, Rita Dove, Cornel West and Amy Goodman, Thandisizwe Chimurenga, Alexander Cockburn, Etan Thomas, Tara Skurtu, bell hooks and Quassan Castro, June Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Tim Wise, Patricia Williams, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Vijay Prashad, Rodolfo Acuna, Jesmyn Ward and more, Killing Trayvons is an essential addition to the literature on race, violence and resistance.
Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence is set to be released early Summer 2014.
Kevin Alexander Gray is a civil rights organizer in South Carolina and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike!: The Fundamentals of Black Politics.
Jeffrey St. Clair is the editor of CounterPunch. His books include Whiteout (with Alexander Cockburn), Grand Theft Pentagon, and Born Under a Bad Sky.
JoAnn Wypijewski regularly writes for The Nation and CounterPunch. Her books include Painting by Numbers.
Related StoriesMassacre in Charleston: Nine Shot Dead at Historic Black Church
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Orangeburg massacre: February 8, 1968
Weapons revolvers, shotguns, police batons, thrown objects
Non-fatal injuries: 28
Perpetrators 9 patrolmen, approximately 150 protesters