(CBS) — Leaders in South Carolina are calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from state capitol grounds.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports it’s been a contentious issue for years, brought to a head by the church massacre in Charleston.READ MORE: COVID-19 Update: Indiana Announces 1,243 New COVID-19 Cases, 36 Additional Deaths
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley today did what most of the state’s other Republicans have resisted for years: calling for removal of the confederate flag from the state capitol’s grounds.
“150 years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come,” she said.
The issue intensified after pictures surfaced of Dylann Roof, suspected of killing nine victims in the church massacre, holding a Confederate flag and a gun.
At the Rainbow PUSH Coalition National Convention today, Rev. Jesse Jackson said the stars and bars is more than just a symbol.
“It’s not just the flag, it’s the flag as it relates to segregation and sedition and secession and suppression,” Jackson said.READ MORE: Dolton Mayoral Candidate Giving Cash Prizes At Fundraiser After Previous Allegations Of Buying Votes
Gov. Haley’s announcement came after South Carolina Senator and GOP presidential candidate Lindsey Graham called for the flag’s removal, something some see as a new litmus test for White House contenders.
“If they’re not in favor of really perfecting the union, then they’re really not qualified to run for president of the United States,” said Rev. Marshall Hatch of New Mount Pilgrim Church.
Gov. Haley sounded a note of unity, in remembrance of the church victims.
“My hope is that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward in harmony and we can honor the nine blessed souls now in heaven,” she said.
President Obama will deliver the eulogy at Friday’s funeral for slain pastor Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine Charleston shooting victims.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Mostly Sunny With Seasonable Temperatures
As for moving the Confederate flag, that will take action by South Carolina’s legislature, which meets in special session starting Tuesday.