Woman who removed Confederate flag in SC has no regrets

Jul 2, 2015 12:31 PM by News Staff

A woman who was arrested for removing the Confederate flag from the front of the South Carolina Statehouse said on Thursday that she would "absolutely" do it again because the banner is a symbol of white supremacy, hatred and racial terror.

Bree Newsome and James Tyson, who were both jailed for the stunt, spoke to CBSN five days after Newsome defied officers' orders, scaling the 30-foot steel flagpole to take down the flag.

"I just felt that it was very important that it be a group of citizens ... who go up and bring that flag down - even if they put it back up a minute later - just to know that's how strongly we felt about it," Newsome said.

Calls for removing the flag have been renewed since nine black churchgoers were killed in what police characterized as a racist attack at a Charleston, South Carolina, church earlier this month.

Newsome, of Charlotte, N.C., said she met with a group of like-minded activists and volunteered to attempt the stunt after a couple days of training. Tyson said that it was important to remove the flag, which he says was put up in the 60s as a "direct rebuttal against the civil rights movement."

"Here we are living with it still today," Tyson said. "It's almost shocking, it's horrifying."

Newsome said that it's "dangerous to forget" about history and thinks the Confederate flag should be displayed in a museum.

"But there's a difference having the Confederate flag in a museum and having it flying over a state capitol where you have the government essentially endorsing a symbol of hate," she said.

In the meantime, she hopes the publicity of her stunt helps fuel a dialog about race relations.

"It's going to take us having these honest conversations about things like the Confederate flag, about things like racism and segregation, in order for us to really change it," she said.

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Most Popular