Charleston City Council is set to vote on a resolution that if passed would voice city officials’ support for removing the Confederate Naval Jack from The Citadel’s Summerall Chapel.
Protected from removal under the South Carolina Heritage Act, the controversial flag has come under increased scrutiny following last June’s shooting at Emanuel AME Church that claimed the lives of nine African-American parishioners and spurred the removal of the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds in July.
The resolution before City Council cites efforts by Citadel alumni and officials to remove the Confederate Naval Jack from the school’s chapel. The resolution would also call for support of a bill put forth by state Sen. Marlon Kimpson to amend the Heritage Act to allow for the flag to be taken down and placed in a museum. Under current legislation, a two-thirds vote by each branch of the state General Assembly is required to remove “monuments or memorials erected on public property.” Kimpson’s bill would allow for flags of the American Civil War on display in chapels in public institutions of higher learning to be relocated if approved by the institution’s board of directors. In a decision last June, The Citadel Board of Visitors voted 9 to 3 for removal of the Confederate Naval Jack from the Summerall Chapel.
Following the vote, Citadel President Lt. Gen. John Rosa released a statement, saying, “The Board of Visitors and I believe now is the right time to move the flag from a place of worship to an appropriate location. We pride ourselves on our core values of honor, duty, and respect. Moving the Naval Jack to another location is consistent with these values and is a model to all of the principled leadership we seek to instill in our cadets and students. It also promotes unity on our campus, in our community and across our state during this time of healing.”
During that time, Board of Visitors chairman W. Michael Steele added, “Moving the flag from Summerall Chapel and properly displaying it in an appropriate location honors those who did their duty by serving while respecting the opinion of those who view the flag as divisive.”