A Confederate flag stands in front of the South Carolina State House in Columbia

South Carolina bill to remove Confederate flag advances in legislature

A Confederate flag stands in front of the South Carolina State House in ColumbiaSouth Carolina lawmakers took a step on Monday toward removing the Confederate battle flag that flies at the state house in Columbia, long denounced as a symbol of slavery by critics. A bill to banish the flag from a Civil War memorial on the capitol grounds to a museum passed a crucial second reading in the state Senate by an overwhelming vote of 37-3 after an emotional debate. Numerous elected officials, including Republican Governor Nikki Haley, called for the flag’s removal after the June 17 killings of nine African-American churchgoers during Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston.     Photos of the white man charged in the shootings showed him posing with the flag on a website that also carried a racist manifesto.

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