Confederate Flag Debate During King Day At The Dome

By Michael Buczyner michaelb@nbcaugusta.com
Story Published: Jan 21, 2008

Monday’s cold weather didn’t stop thousands from attending King Day at the Dome in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The annual event in Columbia, South Carolina, brought out a call for change and this year along with three Democratic presidential candidates.

"I had to be hopeful to be standing here today. I didn’t come from a lot of money. I didn’t come from power or privilege," Sen. Barack Obama said.

All three of us are on the journey with you. On the march of equality, Justice and fairness," John Edwards said.

“We can not afford to wait any longer. It’s time to stand up, speak out and vote," Sen. Hillary Clinton said.

Two separate campaigns converged on the front steps of the Capitol building on Dr. King’s birthday… the presidential race and the Confederate flag flying on Statehouse grounds.

"You wouldn’t burn the American flag would you? My ancestors fought for this so why would I do the same thing?," Matt Jamison said.

"It’s appalling and it should have been taken down so long ago," Mary Bowden said.

On what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 79th birthday, more than 6,000 people rallied in support and remembrance of the civil rights leader. And like years past, calls for the removal of the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds emanated throughout the air.

"There were two people hung weekly for more than 30-years because of that flag," Leon James said.

Across the street, supporters of the flag voiced their opinion.

"This flag is a symbol of the liberty and freedom for the people fighting for the principals of Thomas Jefferson and John C. Calhoun," John Cobin said.

The NAACP continues its economic boycott in South Carolina.

In 2000, the confederate flag was removed from atop the Capitol building and placed outside the Statehouse beside a Confederate soldiers monument.

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