History of the Confederate flag in South Carolina

FILE - In this photo combination, the Confederate battle flag is raised in front of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on July 1, 2000, left, and the same flag is taken down on July 10, 2015, right, ending its presence on the Capitol grounds. The flag’s removal seemed unthinkable before the June 17 massacre of nine black parishioners at a Charleston church during a Bible study. Dylann Roof, a white man who was photographed with the Confederate flag, is charged in the shooting deaths, and authorities have called the killings a hate crime. (AP Photo/Paula Illingworth, left, John Bazemore, right)
FILE - In this photo combination, the Confederate battle flag is raised in front of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., on July 1, 2000, left, and the same flag is taken down on July 10, 2015, right, ending its presence on the Capitol grounds. The flag’s removal seemed unthinkable before the June 17 massacre of nine black parishioners at a Charleston church during a Bible study. Dylann Roof, a white man who was photographed with the Confederate flag, is charged in the shooting deaths, and authorities have called the killings a hate crime. (AP Photo/Paula Illingworth, left, John Bazemore, right)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Confederate flag has been removed from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse, a move that many were uncertain would ever come.

Here’s a look at the history of the flag’s presence in the state capital:

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1938 — The Confederate flag is raised in the South Carolina House chambers.

1956 — The flag is raised in the Senate.

1961 — The Confederate flag is raised over the Statehouse to commemorate the Civil War centennial. The following year, lawmakers pass a law requiring that it continue to fly.

1970s-1980s — Black lawmakers and others call for the flag’s removal.

1993 —State Attorney General Travis Medlock says there’s no legal reason to keep flying the flag.

1994 — Black ministers and National NAACP Chairman William Gibson of Greenville threaten a boycott. Columbia Mayor Bob Coble and business leaders sue to force the flag’s removal. Lawmakers fail to pass legislation to remove the flag from the dome and put two Confederate flags on the Statehouse grounds.

1995 — Legislators pass a law to protect the flag during Statehouse renovations and give lawmakers sole power to remove it. Coble drops his lawsuit.

1996 — Republican Gov. David Beasley proposes moving the flag to a Statehouse monument.

1997 — The House rejects Beasley’s plan but passes a flag bill that the Senate lets die. In March, Beasley concedes defeat on the issue.

1998 — In September, Beasley repeats his pledge to never again try to remove flag. Democratic challenger Jim Hodges also promises not to revive the issue. Hodges defeats Beasley, thanks in part to the influence of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. In October, the NAACP demonstrates at the Statehouse.

1999 — In June, black lawmakers find that legislative manual covers are printed with images showing the flag in the background. On July 15, the national NAACP passes a boycott resolution. Five days later, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference moves its annual 2000 convention from Charleston. Hodges meets with NAACP leaders and begins polling lawmakers.

2000 — The NAACP boycott begins Jan. 1. At a presidential debate, a question on the flag prompts boos. The next day, Jan. 8, more than 6,000 flag supporters march on the Statehouse. On Jan. 17, more than 45,000 flag opponents march on the Statehouse in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. A month later, Hodges proposes moving the flag to an out-of-the-way monument, but that goes nowhere. In April, Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. marches 120 miles to Columbia in a five-day anti-flag protest.

The Senate votes to take the flag down April 12. The House does so May 10. A compromise version of the bills is worked out. Hodges signs it May 23.

The Senate removes its Confederate flag June 30. The House follows July 1. The Confederate flag is lowered from the Statehouse dome. Moments later, Civil War re-enactors raise a smaller, square version of the flag nearby. It’s the South Carolina Infantry Battle Flag, and it’s on a 30-foot flagpole at the Confederate Soldier Monument directly in front of the Statehouse, along a busy streets.

The compromise says the flag can be lowered only with approval of the Legislature.

2001 — The NCAA says South Carolina can’t hold any post-season sporting events whose locations are pre-determined as long as the flag flies.

January 2004: About 2,000 people march to the Statehouse on MLK Day, renewing calls for the flag’s removal.

January 2008: Republican presidential candidate John McCain defends his opposition eight years ago to the flag flying in South Carolina. Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee says South Carolina should decide whether to fly the flag.

May 2010: Only two of the six Democrat and Republican governor hopefuls say they would consider moving the flag.

October 2014: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen tries to shake up the race, calling for the flag to come down.

November 2014 — A survey of 852 South Carolina residents by Winthrop University asks whether the flag should continue to fly. The results: 42.4 percent strongly believe it should stay put. Further, 53.3 percent of whites feel strongly that it should stay, and 51.1 percent of blacks feel strongly that it be removed.

June 17, 2015 — Nine people are killed in a shooting massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Police charge Dylann Roof, who is white.

June 18, 2015 — Gov. Nikki Haley orders the state and U.S. flags at the Statehouse lowered to half-staff for nine days to honor the dead. The Confederate flag doesn’t move because of the 2000 compromise, which requires Legislature approval to lower it.

June 20, 2015 — Republican Rep. Doug Brannon says he’ll file a bill in December, the first opportunity to do so, to move the flag and pole to the state’s Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. That evening, flag opponents rally in Columbia.

June 22, 2015 — Gov. Nikki Haley reverses her position and says the Confederate flag should be removed from the Statehouse grounds: “One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come.” Several national and state legislators and leaders say they agree with Haley.

Also, the White House says President Barack Obama believes the flag should no longer be flown anywhere, but he doesn’t have authority over that decision.

Shortly after Haley’s announcement, Mississippi’s Republican House speaker, Philip Gunn, says the Confederate battle emblem is offensive and should be removed from the state flag, and GOP and Democratic lawmakers in Tennessee call for a bust of Confederate general and early KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest to be removed from an alcove outside Senate chambers. And Wal-Mart says it’s removing items featuring the flag from shelves and its website.

June 23, 2015 — South Carolina lawmakers take their first step toward removing the flag from their Statehouse grounds. The measure enabling lawmakers to debate the flag removal later this summer passes the House by a vote of 103-10. The Senate later approves it with a voice vote.

July 6, 2015 — The South Carolina Senate overwhelmingly gives key approval to the bill requiring the Confederate flag be removed from the Statehouse grounds, with only three of 40 senators voting against it.

The vote came at the end of a day of debate in which several white senators said they had come to understand why their black colleagues felt the flag no longer represented the valor of Southern soldiers but the racism that led the South to separate from the United States more than 150 years ago.

About 1 a.m. July 9, 2015 — House lawmakers vote in favor of the bill requiring that the Confederate flag be removed from the Statehouse grounds, sending it to the governor for her signature. The key House vote shows a wide margin, 93-27. Gov. Nikki Haley had reversed her position on the subject and promised to sign it.

Some House lawmakers pushed amendments that would have allowed other flags to fly in the same place, but all failed despite hours of fiery debate.

4 p.m. July 9, 2015 — Gov. Nikki Haley signs the bill requiring that the Confederate flag be removed from the Statehouse grounds within 24 hours and schedules a ceremony for the following morning.

July 10, 2015 — An honor guard of state troopers lowers the Confederate battle flag from a pole outside the Statehouse and rolls it up so it can be displayed in a museum alongside other Confederate relics. The pole on which it had flown also was removed. Relatives of the nine people killed during a Bible study at a black church — police say the suspect was motivated by racial hatred — have front-row seats for the historic moment.

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