Early Thursday morning, South Carolina’s House of Representatives voted to approve a bill to permanently remove the Confederate flag from flying on the state Capitol grounds. The historic 94-20 vote followed hours of impassioned debate on Wednesday, including an emotional address by Rep. Jenny Horne (R), who reminded her colleagues she was a descendant of Confederate president Jefferson Davis.
“I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday,” Horne said. “If any of you vote to amend, you are ensuring this flag will fly beyond Friday. And for the widow of Sen. [Clementa] Pinckney and his two young daughters that would be adding insult to injury and I will not be a part of it.”
The bill moves now to the desk of Gov. Nikki Haley’s, who has promised she would sign it quickly. Once signed, the state has 24 hours to remove the flag from the capitol grounds. It will then be moved to the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum nearby.
“It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state,” Haley said in a statement after the House’s vote.
The renewed push to remove the battle flag was sparked by the massacre in Charleston last month that killed nine people, including Sen. Pinckney, inside a historic black church. Soon after the shooting, photos surfaced of the alleged gunman posing with the flag.