AIKEN, SC — The NAACP fought hard to have the Confederate flag removed from the South Carolina State House grounds. Now, a local president tells us how he feels now that government leaders voted to take it down.
Phillip Howell can remember when the South Carolina NAACP rallied to have two Confederate flags removed from inside House and Senate Chambers more than 15 years ago. But he said the fight continued as the flag still flew on public property.
“They brought it to the Capitol dome, [from] in the House and Senate chambers and put it on the pole right in front of our face,” said Howell, President of the NAACP Aiken Branch.
Howell told News Channel 6 it’s about time South Carolina leaders removed the Confederate flag from the state house grounds.
“I can’t tell you how many miles I’ve marched from here, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Columbia, marches to bring attention to the fact that that flag should not be flying on the state house grounds,” he recalled.
The Aiken Branch of the NAACP is considered one of the largest in the Palmetto State. President Howell said this particular red, white and blue is a flag of a defeated nation.
“The Civil War was fought for slaves, for slavery, so the southern planters could keep their slaves. That’s what it was for. It wasn’t about anything else. They want to say it was for states’ rights. Yeah, the states’ rights to keep your slaves,” he said.
The impetus for removing the flag follows the brutal killing of nine people attending church in Charleston last month. Howell said he’s been there several times.
“I said you’ve got to be kidding Mother Emmanuel? How could this happen? But you know the people there and you knew Rev. Pinckney, you could see why it would happen. They were welcoming. Come on in and sit down and have a bible study with us. Obviously they didn’t know the evil that was in that young man’s mind,” Howell explained.
Howell said that very confederate flag launched an economic boycott of the Palmetto State by the NAACP. However, the National President of the NAACP said Thursday that the organization will consider an emergency resolution to lift its boycott of the Palmetto State at its National Convention this weekend.
He said organizations like the NCAA refused to hold championship games in South Carolina because that flag was flying. It lifted the ban Thursday in an article here.