Updated Saturday, June 27, 2:20 p.m.: #FreeBree is now trending on black Twitter, and a bail fund has been set up to help Bree Newsome defray the legal costs associated with her arrest for removing the Confederate flag.
A woman identified as Bree Newsome was arrested Saturday after climbing the flagpole at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., about 6:30 a.m. and removing the Confederate flag, Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, said in a statement.
But state officials ordered the banner to be raised again by 8:30 a.m., Robinson tells The Root.
Robinson, whose group started a petition last week titled “Take Down the Confederate Flag From the South Carolina Capitol,” which has received more than 55,000 signatures, supported the activist. He identified her as a North Carolina educator. A second person was arrested, but his or her identity is not yet known.
“The confederate flag was born out of a government defending the enslavement of Black people and resurrected as an emblem for whites violently opposing racial integration,” Robinson said in the statement. “Any government that recognizes the flag is declaring that it cherishes a history of racial terror. This flag sends a horrible message about what our country was and a reminder of what we can still be. The flag is down now, we should keep it down, and any charges against these activists should be dropped immediately.”
The incident comes a day after President Barack Obama delivered a moving eulogy at the funeral of tthe Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a state senator who was gunned down with eight others last week by a gunman during Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
The movement #Takeitdown sprang up after the discovery of an online manifesto on a website registered to the alleged gunman, Dylann Roof, venerating the flag, which is rooted in the Confederate states’ Civil War campaign to preserve slavery. The movement has since morphed into #keepitdown.