In front of a crowd of thousands, the Confederate flag was taken down from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse on Friday, after flying there for more than 50 years.
When the South Carolina legislature voted to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse in Columbia, they agreed to put the banner in the Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum a few blocks away. The room is home to a vast collection of Confederate battle flags and artifacts from past American wars.
Gov. Nikki Haley stood on the Statehouse steps with family members of the victims of the Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston and other dignitaries, as an honor guard of South Carolina troopers lowered the flag during a 6-minute ceremony.
"I thought honestly that the ceremony - which I had nothing really to do with the structure of it - but I thought it was done the appropriate way," the relic room's director, Allen Roberson told Here & Now's Robin Young. "I think enough had been said, pro and con, in the House of Representatives on that long night in Columbia. And I felt like everything that needed to be said had been said, so there wasn't a need for speeches or oratory or anything else at that point."
After removing the flag from the flagpole, state troopers rolled up the flag and tied it with a white ribbon.
"We want to take plenty of time to come up with an appropriate display to help with the healing of South Carolina."
"It was kind of like the furling of the flags at the end of the American Civil War, from the defeated Confederacy," Roberson said.
Roberson said the flag won't be displayed at the museum right away. Instead, he and his staff will take time to come up with a fitting exhibit.
"We have six months to come up with a budget and a plan to exhibit the flag," he said. "They haven't been finalized, but we have some ideas for maybe to do it as a memorial to 21,000 or so Confederates from South Carolina who died in the war."
Developing and finalizing an exhibit won't be an easy process, Roberson said, adding that the museum won't rush to put it on display.
"The history of the flag, the placement on the Statehouse grounds, was certainly was a polarizing issue. And it is important to those who's ancestors fought during the war," Roberson said. "But at the same time, we recognize - and I think our state leaders recognize - that it doesn't represent everybody in the state, all of the citizens, especially the descendants of enslaved African-Americans. And in light of the tragic massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the nine South Carolinians who were victims of a horrible racist massacre, we're keeping all of that in our minds. So we want to take plenty of time to come up with an appropriate display to help with the healing of South Carolina."
- Allen Roberson, director of the Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum in Columbia, South Carolina.
This segment aired on July 10, 2015.