Ten Years On 10: The Confederate flag on the State House

By Drew Stewart - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The subject of the story from this decade we believe has had the biggest impact on South Carolina once sat upon the top of the State House, but was moved at the beginning of the decade.

Our top story from our 10 Years On 10 series is the removal of the Confederate flag from the State House dome.

For nearly four decades, it flew above South Carolina's most prominent building. Some called it heritage, others called it hate, but there was little doubt the Confederate flag was the most divisive issue in South Carolina at the close of the 20th century.
The flag spent many days as the top story in our newscasts.

"The flag is not a symbol of racism, and it's a shame some people view it that way," said one flag supporter.

"What flies over my house should be my flag," countered a detractor.
As the debate got longer, it became more heated.

"I'm gonna take it down if I have to climb up there myself and get it," one woman said.

The flag even made presidential politics.

"The people of South Carolina can figure out what to do with it," then-Governor George W. Bush said.

"We still have  bridges to cross," said President Bill Clinton.
What to do with the flag brought out the passion among lawmakers as well, who ultimately had the job of deciding what to do with the flag.

"I love the NAACP, but I love South Carolina even more," said Sen. Darrell Jackson.

"I'm from a district that wants to keep it up, so what am I supposed to do?" asked then-Senator Andre Bauer.
But in 2000, after numerous failed attempts at compromise, the General Assembly agreed to take the flag from the dome and place it near the Confederate Soldiers Memorial on the north side of the State House grounds.
On July 1, 2000, WIS took viewers live to the State House as the flag was removed from atop the dome.

The compromise still doesn't sit well with many. In 2009, the Atlantic Coast Conference canceled plans to hold its annual baseball tournament in Myrtle Beach. The NAACP still has economic sanctions on the Palmetto State.
So far, there are no plans to take up moving the flag during this year's legislative session.

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