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Marking Historic Moment, South Carolina Poised To Remove Confederate Flag

Jaluladin Abdul-Hamib shouts "Take It Down" on the grounds of the South Carolina State House back in June.
Win McNamee Getty Images
Jaluladin Abdul-Hamib shouts "Take It Down" on the grounds of the South Carolina State House back in June.

South Carolina will make history later this morning when the Confederate battle flag is removed from a 30-foot pole that sits on the grounds of the State House.

The flag was first flown over the state's Capitol dome in 1961, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Civil War. But it was kept there as a protest against the Civil Rights movement. After calls from African Americans to remove it, it was moved to the spot it now occupies in 2000.

As we've been reporting, the flag and the dark past of American history that it invokes became the subject of debate yet again after a gunman entered a historically black church, opened fire and killed 9 people.

After intense debate — about history, hate and Southern pride — both chambers of the state government and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley agreed on legislation that calls for removing the flag and moving it to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.

As The New York Times reports, even hours before the historic event takes place, there is still logistical questions.

The paper reports:

"Part of the mystery is practical: The pole to which the flag is attached appears to have no mechanism — no winch, pulley, or rope — that a person on the ground might use to bring it down. Some have speculated that this design was all part of the passion that surrounds anything to do with the battle flag, which had originally flown over the State House but was moved to the pole, next to a Confederate soldiers' memorial, after a bitter debate and political compromise in 2000. ...

"The other part of the mystery is ceremonial. Who will take it down? And what type of pageantry, if any, will be involved?

"In 2000, the flag was removed from the top of the capitol by two cadets from the Citadel, the state military college. According to news reports at the time, the cadets, one white and the other African-American, gave the flag to Jim Hodges, then the governor, who in turn handed it to an employee of the South Carolina State Museum."

Those mysteries will be unraveled at 10 a.m. ET, today.

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