By Portia Williams
Friday, July 10, 2015, during the 10 a.m. hour, was a monumental time in at the South Carolina Statehouse, and for the this country that we call America. What appeared to be thousands of people gathered around to behold something that had not been done since the Civil Rights Movement —- the removal of the Confederate Flag. A resounding call to action to have the flag removed from the Statehouse was stirred after the dreadful massacre occurred on June 17, 2015, at Emmanuel African Episcopal Church (AME), known as Mother Emmanuel, located in Charleston, S.C., and is the oldest of the churches in the AME organization.
Though I cannot fathom why it would take the killing of nine innocent lives, I still commend the efforts of the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley for the stand that she took, and major role that she played in working in conjunction with state officials in South Carolina to have the flag removed, and retired to a museum. This is one day that I can truly say that I am proud to be an American. For, I know that many attempts have been made by organizations across the country to have the flag banned and removed from various venues, to no avail. I stood in the news room and watch the television, the ceremony transpired in which military soldiers went through the formalities, and lastly as the flag was placed into the hands of an African American soldier, and at that point I did shed a tear.
So many pros, and so many cons as it pertains to the flag’s removal, and of course every human being is entitled to their opinion. Some argue that it represents history, an intrinsic part of the tapestry of a time period in our nation’s history, and this fact is undeniable. However, when a part of history which also clearly symbolized the enslavement of a race of people, and is still being utilized as a symbol of racial hatred, degradation, and for some, hopes of annihilation, 54 years is way too long to allow something to stand. To Dylann Roof, the 21-year old white man who admitted to killing the nine black people at Mother Emmanuel, the Confederate flag represented deeply embedded racial hatred, which obviously, served as a stimulus to his bigotry. Though there is so much more that I could say concerning this issue, as I bring this column to a close, I want to encourage every American reading this to turn the page. We have a flag, one composed of 13 stripes and 50 stars. May God help us, and may God bless America.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext 1929.