South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from capitol grounds with a ceremony on Friday, less than a month after nine Black worshipers were killed in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church by a white man in Charleston.
The flag became a matter of national controversy in the United States after photos a man named Dylann Roof (21), who killed nine black people in the church on June 17 with the aim of inciting a “race war,” emerged posing with the flag.
The South Carolina legislators moved to pass a bill to remove the flag and it was signed by the state’s Governor Nikki Haley on Thursday.
A crowd of about 10,000 local residents gathered to watch and chanted "U-S-A, U-S-A" while state troopers took the flag down 54-years after it first flew in South Carolina capitol to be placed in a museum.
US President Barack Obama showed his support to the move with a tweet saying it is “a meaningful step towards a better future.”
South Carolina taking down the confederate flag - a signal of good will and healing, and a meaningful step towards a better future.
— President Obama (@POTUS) July 10, 2015
Many in the United States see the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate and racism due to its use by the alliance of slave-owning states in the American Civil War.
However, there was some opposition to the removal from those who claimed the flag is a symbol of Southern pride and national heritage.
The flag was used during the US civil war by secessionist southern Confederate States who fought to retain their rights to own slaves.
Relatives of the nine slain in the church massacre were given a spot to watch the ceremony and they were happy about the removal of the flag.
“The tragedy was a tragedy,” Denise Quarles, who lost her mother in the shooting, said, “But now on the other side of that tragedy, we see a lot of positives coming out.”