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Charleston County Council votes on Confederate flag compromise

From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:

The Confederate Naval Jack, that hangs in Summerall Chapel at the Citadel, was a hot topic at Charleston County Council Tuesday night.

Councilman Henry Darby talked about the flag, “It was brought to my attention by two constituents. They were very upset about it. Number two, it is a house of worship. Number three, it is being supported by tax dollars.”

At the meeting, Darby proposed cutting $975,000 in accommodations tax dollars to the Citadel until they take the flag down.

During public comments, both sides were represented.

One man who said he served at war before said, “My concern is, we’re gonna have good African-American officers, would be officers, not want to go to the Citadel because of this flag flying.”

A former Citadel cadet quoted Frederick Douglas and said, “there were free black men, serving in the Confederate Army. Unlike what people say, that it was all about slavery.”

The Citadel’s Director of Government Affairs, Cardon Crawford spoke. He said the South Carolina Heritage Act, passed in 2000 as part of the compromise to take the Confederate flag off the Statehouse dome, makes it illegal to remove and war monuments or memorials erected on public property in the state.

 Crawford said the Citadel believes this would make it against the law to remove the flag. He quoted an article from 1939 when the flag was donated to the Citadel. “General Summerall is quoted in the cadet newspaper saying, ‘in accepting this flag, I am taking it as a tribute to the courage and valor shown by American manhood in fighting for a cause.’”

Councilman Elliott Summey proposed voting to give the money to the Citadel, as long as the state attorney general issues an opinion that the flag is covered under the Heritage Act. Council then voted and approved that proposal.

While Darby voted for the proposal, he does not have much hope that the flag will come down. “I would like to go on record, that I doubt very seriously, with all veracity, whether the attorney general will go against the Citadel.”

After tonight’s vote, if the attorney general’s opinion is that the Heritage Act does apply to the flag, the Citadel will receive the money. If the attorney general rules the Heritage Act does not apply, county council may revisit the issue.

Image courtesy of WCBD-TV.

 

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