The racially-motivated massacre that left nine African Americans dead in a historic South Carolina black church has prompted the removal of a symbol of the Confederacy in another place of worship. The governing board of the Citadel — a military college located in Charleston, South Carolina — has voted to relocate the Confederate Naval Jack from its place in the institution’s Summerall Chapel.
By a 9-3 vote, the Citadel’s Board of Visitors put in motion the removal of the flag Tuesday. Doing so will requiring the authorization of the South Carolina legislature, as the flag’s placement was part of the state’s Heritage Act, the 2000 legislation that also put the Confederate battle flag on the state Capitol grounds.
“The Board of Visitors and I believe now is the right time to move the flag from a place of worship to an appropriate location,” the president of the Citadel, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. John W Rosa, said in a statement. One of the victims of the Charleston shooting was a Citadel alumnus, his statement noted, and six Citadel employees lost relatives in last week’s attack.
“We pride ourselves on our core values of honor, duty and respect. Moving the Naval Jack to another location is consistent with these values and is a model to all of the principled leadership we seek to instill in our cadets and students,” Rosa’s statement said.
The Board of Visitors will now seek permission from the South Carolina legislators to remove the flag, likely by an amendment to the Heritage Act, according to Citadel spokeswoman Emily DeVoe. It is unclear how long that will take and where on campus The Citadel will move the flag once permission is granted.
Previously, Charleston County Councilman Henry Darby had attempted to remove the flag by diverting funding to the school, the Post and Courier reported, as he thought it was offensive to African Americans.
He told the Post and Courier Tuesday that he was “happy and elated” by the vote to remove it.
“My purpose for this to happen was not out of hatred or malice but to win friendship and understanding of how the flag was actually hurting a segment of our community,” he said.