The White House reiterated on June 19 an earlier statement that President Barack Obama made concerning the placement of the Confederate Flag, long believed to be a symbol of white supremacy and slavery during the time of the Civil War in the 1860’s.
“The President has said before he believes the Confederate Flag belongs in a museum, and that is still his position,” said Eric Schultz, a White House spokesperson. Schultz was speaking to reports on Air Force One when he reassured the public of Obama’s position on the issue.
The Confederate Flag has been involved in two major stories this week – a U.S. Supreme Court decision in Texas and the murder of nine African-Americans at a church in South Carolina.
In Texas, the Supreme Court banned the image of the Confederate Flag from appearing on the state’s license plates in a case that focused on First Amendment rights. The 5-4 decision agreed with the state that the property of a license plate belongs to the state, not the citizen.
On the night of June 17, 21 year old Dylann Roof allegedly shot nine people dead inside the historic Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof had three different images of the flag on his own license plate with the license plate reading “Confederate States of America,” according to BBC News. Investigators also believe Roof created a website that focuses on white supremacy and promotes racism throughout the United States.
South Carolina legislators lowered the U.S. flag and the state flag to half-staff earlier this week following the shooting, but the Confederate flag was left alone, flying at full height. However, Republican Governor Nikki Haley revealed that the state legislature is the only body of government that would be allowed to approve the removal of the flag, not the governor.
The Confederate flag is seen by many as a symbol of the secessionist movement of southern states during the Civil War. The movement was promoted by those who did not agree with President Abraham Lincoln’s position on banning slavery in every state, and southerners created the flag as a sign of protest.