MEDIA RELEASE 

 

Statement by Dr. Lonnie Randolph, Jr.
President, SC State Conference, NAACP

 

NAACP DEMANDS ACTION ON CONFEDERATE FLAG NOW! 

 

This has been a terrible and difficult time for the victims and families of the Charleston Massacre. Over the last several days we have seen a global outpouring of compassion and concern for our State and its people, especially the Black people targeted in this attack on our holiest ground. We have watched as our Governor and an endless procession of our State and federal politicians have embraced the microphones of world media. Out of tragedy, lessons must be learned and progress made.   The NAACP announced in 1999 its economic boycott of this State because we believed that the symbolism of the Confederate flag at the seat of government manifested a Confederate mindset that permeated the thinking of policymakers in South Carolina.  Over 70,000 people joined us as the NAACP and a broad coalition of organizations gathered for the first King Day at the Dome March in January 2000 to launch the Campaign for Dignity in South Carolina.  We have never wavered from the belief that the Confederate flag, whether on the Dome of the State House or repositioned to its present location on the capitol grounds at the State’s most prominent intersection, is a divisive symbol of the past. It is a symbol of insult to right thinking people of this State because it has long been the banner of race haters and murderers.  Some have said it belongs not on the State House grounds but in a museum, with other relics of the past.  From the tragic event that took place at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, we are sadly reminded of how much the symbolism of this flag flying defiantly matters.

Today, I have called upon the members of the General Assembly and former members of the General Assembly, including former Senator Glenn McConnell now President of the College of Charleston, and the people of South Carolina, to demand that the Governor of this State bring the General Assembly back for a special session to bring the Confederate flag down and deliver it to a museum.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (Laozi).  Let this be that first step toward justice and equality for all of the people of South Carolina.  The world is watching. This simple act can be both a powerful message to the world of this State’s refusal to tolerate racial prejudice, hatred and racially motivated murder, and would honor the memory of those good people who died at the hands of racism only days ago. In Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, he reminds us that “the time is always ripe to do right”. The time is well past for this action, the wounds are fresh, and this act can help us all, Black and White begin the healing in a very real way.

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The South Carolina State Conference is the largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in South Carolina.  Our units are located in every county in the state including all major municipalities.  Our mission is to end race discrimination in all sectors of American society and bring about equality of justice and equal opportunity for all citizens.  Through various initiatives we seek to impact voter participation, education, community development, criminal justice, healthcare, housing, youth leadership, economic empowerment and citizen involvement.

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