In light of the controversy surrounding the display of Confederate battle flag, The board of visitors for The Military College of South Carolina in Charleston made a historic decision.
The news was first reported by WCSC-TV in Charleston.
The Citadel’s board voted 9-3 Tuesday night to remove the Confederate naval jack from its on-campus Summerall chapel. The vote is only the first step, as the state General Assembly must give final approval for the flag’s removal under the 2000 Heritage Act. The school’s trustees are mostly appointed by the legislature.
The vote came six days after a gunman killed nine people at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church less than two miles southeast of campus. The gunman’s white supremacist views and witness testimony that he’d told the victims he killed them because they were black has sparked protests against Confederate flag usage across the South.
“The Emanuel AME Church is our neighbor and we consider it a part of our extended Citadel family,” Citadel President Lt. Gen. John Rosa said in a statement. “We will continue to support the church and its members in their time of need.” Rosa said now is the right time to move the flag from a place of worship to an appropriate location..
The Confederate naval jack is one of 57 flags that fly inside the school’s Summerall Chapel. The school says it was donated by The Citadel Yacht Club to the chapel’s namesake former President Gen. Pelot Summerall in 1939.
The flag’s presence has generated minor controversy in the past. Charleston County Councilman Henry Darby, a Citadel alum, unsuccessfully tried last year to withhold funding from the school until it removed the flag.
Jay Harper contributed to this report