Confederate Flag Controversy
On June 17, 2015, a white man shot and killed nine people, all of them African American in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, during Bible Study. In the wake of the shooting, a controversy arose, both in South Carolina and across the United States, regarding the Confederate flag, which many believe is a symbol of racism, a relic of slavery and Jim Crow. Photos of the Charleston shooter embracing the Confederate flag surfaced in the days after the event.
At the center of this controversy is a Confederate flag that, as of this writing, flies on the grounds of the state capitol in Charleston. The flag was raised over the capitol building itself in 1962, an act many interpreted as pushback against the Civil Rights Movement. While many supporters claim the flag is a symbol of "Southern pride" or heritage, opponents believe that the only heritage the Confederate flag represents is one of slavery, segregation, and racism.
Numerous retail outlets across the United States, including Amazon and Wal-Mart, removed any items displaying the Confederate flag from their stores. In Virginia, the state stopped issuing special license plates bearing the "stars and bars," while there were calls for Mississippi to redesign its state flag, removing the Confederate flag. The controversy remains a highly charged one in many areas of the country.