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Watch Bree Newsome climb a 30-foot flagpole to take down South Carolina's Confederate flag

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Bree Newsome, an organizer and activist from Charlotte, North Carolina, took down South Carolina's Confederate flag this morning by climbing up the 30-foot flagpole on statehouse grounds.

"We come against … hatred, oppression, and violence. I come against you in the name of God," Newsome shouted as she climbed the flagpole. "This flag comes down today."

As soon as Newsome got down from the flagpole she was arrested and charged with defacing monuments on state Capitol grounds, according to the Associated Press. A crowdfunding page has already garnered more than $17,000 in donations toward her bail.

The South Carolina legislature is set to vote on taking down the Confederate flag, which requires a two-thirds majority in both houses. The flag has flown over the statehouse since 1962, when it was put up as a symbol of resistance to racial integration.

The flag will probably come down — but it's a slow process

Bree Newsome

Bree Newsome takes down the flag. (Reuters Media Express/Adam Anderson Photos)

Gov. Nikki Haley has said it's time to remove the flag, and it's close to having the votes, according to the Post and Courier. But the Post and Courier says the vote is unlikely to happen until July 6 at the earliest.

"As we all have to acknowledge, the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride," President Obama said Friday in his eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church pastor and state senator who was among the nine killed in a mass shooting June 17.

"For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation," Obama continued. "Removing the flag from this state’s Capitol would not be an act of political correctness. It would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought, the cause of slavery, was wrong."

Newsome tweeted about the flag last Saturday:

The flag is already back up.

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