Protests of Confederate Symbols Spread Nationwide

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from The New York Times,

As South Carolina legislators voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to consider removing a Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds, a groundswell against symbols of the Confederacy spread to other states, fueled by new found support from conservatives.

Spurred by the killing of nine people inside a Charleston church last week, Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, said Monday that the state’s General Assembly should remove the Confederate flag from outside the State House.

In Mississippi, the Republican speaker of the State House, Philip Gunn, a Republican, said the banner should be removed from his state’s flag. Matt Bevin, the Republican nominee for governor in Kentucky, lauded Ms. Haley and said that a statue of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, should be removed from his state’s Capitol.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, a Democrat, said he was acting to have the state stop issuing specialty license plates that feature the Confederate battle flag to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and some Maryland Democrats called for the same change in their state. In Tennessee, Democrats and Republicans have said that a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan, should be removed from the state Capitol.

Retailers like Walmart and Amazon plan to no longer sell items with the flag on them. Statues of icons of the Old South were vandalized in Austin, Tex., Baltimore, Charleston and other cities. Student leaders and some politicians called for the removal of similar statues from the Austin campus of the University of Texas.

For generations, conservative Southerners defended the symbols of the Confederacy as standing for their history, not slavery and racism, while many conservatives from other regions said it was not their place to take a stand. But this week, Ms. Haley was urged by national Republican leaders, including several presidential contenders, to banish the flag, and the state’s two Republican senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, endorsed her decision.

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