S. Carolina law makes it tough to lower Confederate flags

In the aftermath of the racially motivated Charleston church slayings in 2015, the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina Statehouse during an elaborate nationally televised ceremony.

But in less prominent places, the fight over the flag rages on, with the rebel banner garnering at least two recent victories. That’s because a South Carolina law crafted more than 15 years ago requires the Legislature to approve by at least a two-thirds vote any change to a historical monument such as lowering a flag or adding a name. And one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers has vowed the law will not change.

Twice in the last month, Confederate flag supporters cited the law as they forced the banner to return to a Confederate monument and a newly renovated courtroom in the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina.

In the Blue Ridge Mountain gateway town of Walhalla, Luther Lyle, a descendent of Confederate soldiers and former caretaker of a Civil War monument there, had lowered the flag following the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Lyle said he did so out of respect for the victims.

“I felt really bad about the killings in Charleston — everybody does. It was a horrible thing to happen,” Lyle said.

Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine black church members, had a Confederate flag on his car’s front license plate and posted proud pictures of himself with the flag in his online manifesto.

Lyle did not make the decision to lower the flag lightly.

His great-grandfather and a great-great grandfather fought for the South in the Civil War, and he was the one who originally put the Confederate flag on the Walhalla monument in 2000.

At the time, legislators passed the South Carolina Heritage Act, which removed the Confederate flag from the top of the Statehouse dome and put it at a soldier’s monument in front of the building.

Flag supporters called it a compromise. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said…

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