COLUMBIA, SC — Supporters of the Confederate flag will be a few days late this year in marking the anniversary of the banner’s removal from the South Carolina statehouse grounds.
A group called Flags Across the South has a permit for a rally outside the state Capitol on July 13 and plans to fly the Confederate flag from a temporary flagpole from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., said Braxton Spivey, the group’s chairman.
The event will be held three days after the fourth anniversary of the date state officials removed the banner from outside the statehouse after a racially motivated shooting that left nine people dead at a historically black church in Charleston.
During the past three years, the South Carolina Secessionist Party raised the Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds on the July 10 anniversary. But that group has since splintered, The State newspaper reported, and a group called Showing Up for Racial Justice Columbia reserved the spot this year, blocking any others from flying the rebel banner.
“I’d feel better if they stopped showing up at all,” said Sarah Keeling, founder of the racial justice group.
Keeling told the newspaper that members of her group plan to protest the July 13 flag event as it has done during rallies in past years.
Spivey said he considered booking the statehouse lawn so his group could fly the flag from midnight to 6 a.m. on the actual anniversary, but others persuaded him to delay the event until the following Saturday.
“I’m hellbent on the 10th,” Spivey said. “If Christmas is on a Monday, you don’t celebrate it on the 23rd.”