NAACP Statement on #BlackLivesMatter Activist Who Took Down SC Confederate Battle Flag

BALTIMORE, MD –  #BlackLivesMatter activist Brittany “Bree” Newsome, wearing rappelling gear, climbed the flagpole in front of South Carolina’s state capitol and removed the Confederate Battle Flag, in an act of civil disobedience.  South Carolina Department of Public Safety arrested Bree, 30, along with her companion, James Tyson, also 30.  Both were charged with a misdemeanor–defacing a monument.  A new flag went up within an hour.  Subsequently, the NAACP has issued the following statement:

From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President and CEO:

“For 15 years, the NAACP has called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag and has maintained economic sanctions against the state of South Carolina. The NAACP, Governor Nikki Haley, a bipartisan coalition of policymakers, an expanding number of American businesses, and a courageous young woman named Bree Newsome are all united in opposition to the Confederate flag. Ms. Newsome temporarily removed the flag flying in front of South Carolina’s state house. As well as supporting the permanent removal of the flag legislatively, we commend the courage and moral impulse of Ms. Newsome as she stands for justice like many activists including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Henry David Thoreau and numerous other Americans who have engaged in civil disobedience. The NAACP calls on state prosecutors to consider the moral inspiration behind the civil disobedience of this young practitioner of democracy. Prosecutors should treat Ms. Newsome with the same large-hearted measure of justice that inspired her actions. The NAACP stands with our youth and behind the multigenerational band of activists fighting the substance and symbols of bigotry, hatred and intolerance.”