Those who think the Confederate flag isn’t a symbol of racism and hate need to think again. And all they’ll need to change their minds are the crude, vile letters recently received by South Carolina state legislators.
The rebel flag has waved from the State House since 1961, when its placement seemed to coincide with a wave in the civil rights movement. Thirty years later, it was moved from the top of the capitol dome to a stationary pole in front of the building, and has remained there since then despite periodic bills from time to time calling for its complete removal.
The tragic Charleston massacre brought the issue to new light, though, after photos were found of admitted murderer Dylann Roof posing with the Confederate flag. And if Roof’s blatant racism wasn’t bad enough, it certainly got extra weight from a few die-hard neo-Confederates.
On July 6, after the state senate approved the bill to remove the Confederate flag earlier that same day, an email to the House Democrats from one claiming to be an Inman, South Carolina resident read:
(A)ll those that voted to take down the flag, well you gave in to the n*ggers … we will not forget none of you a**hole, we don’t need trash like you in SC(.)
On the next day of July 7, House Minority Leader J. Todd Rutherford received a personal letter, addressed to “stinking ugly n*gger(.)” Listing a Nevada return address, but mailed from a Columbia, South Carolina zip code, the handwritten letter reads:
I hate you and every other filthy n*gger in America. Lets hope ebola does what sickle cell anemia failed to do: exterminate every filthy n*gger baboon in America.
God bless David Duke, KKK, Buchanan and Roof
And while state house debated the issue on July 8, Rutherford received another letter, this one from one using a Walterboro, South Carolina address:
You are a piece of sh*t race baiting n*gger!!! Blue gummed mother f**ker! Go f**k yourself!
Such open racism was displayed on Twitter, too. After Rutherford told of the threats to a state senator who is a Confederate flag proponent, a Twitter account in the name “GodAndTheCSA” responded:
Shut up, n*gger
The vulgar insults and threats didn’t take effect, though. Neither did a group of anonymous Neo-Confederates, who attacked legislators by phone and radio ads. Neither did the 16 hours of delay pulled by a score of Republican legislators who attempted to filibuster by offering over 60 amendments to the bill.
Following an emotional debate beginning at 9 a.m. on July 8, at 1 a.m. on July 9 South Carolina’s state house voted 94-20 to remove the Confederate flag, 11 more votes than needed.
Following Gov. Nikki Haley’s promised signing of the bill, the flag will be officially removed from state government property.
Featured image public domain via Wikipedia, modified with image from Rep. J. Todd Rutherford