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Tom Turnipsee and the Removal of the Confederate Flag

February 17, 1997
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Tom Turnipseed

Grandson of a member of the Ku Klux Klan and former campaign manager for George Wallace, now a leader in the movement to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State Capitol Building.

The grandson of a member of the Ku Klux Klan and former campaign manager for George Wallace, Tom Turnipseed is now a leader in the movement to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State Capitol Building.

The Confederate flag has always been a symbol of white supremacy, and is still used by extremist groups in the U.S. It was mounted on the State Capitol Building in 1962, ostensibly to commemorate the Confederacy, but in actuality in defiance of the Civil Rights Movement, then at its height. It remained as a visible statement against the rights gained by Blacks. A bill was passed in the State Senate in 1994 to take the flag down; when it got to the representatives, not only was the bill defeated,but a law was passed that would make it a permanent feature of the State of South Carolina.

A group of concerned citizens, which included the National Council of Churches, organized a conference around the issue. Coincidentally, governor Beasley of the State of Carolina attended, first as a detractor, then as a sympathetic participant. Rallies were held against the growing number of conferences; people were injured, until finally the governor came out against the flag and supported its removal—although as of this interview, it remains.


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