Bree Newsome is an activist, speaker, filmmaker and musician best known for her work in climbing a flagpole and removing a confederate battle flag from the South Carolina state house grounds. Her act of civil disobedience helped push government officials to finally remove the flag from all government buildings in South Carolina.
Bree Newsome had the following to say about why she took down that flag:
I realized that now is the time for true courage the morning after the Charleston Massacre shook me to the core of my being. I couldn’t sleep. I sat awake in the dead of night. All the ghosts of the past seemed to be rising.
Not long ago, I had watched the beginning of Selma, the reenactment of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and had shuddered at the horrors of history.
But this was neither a scene from a movie nor was it the past. A white man had just entered a black church and massacred people as they prayed. He had assassinated a civil rights leader. This was not a page in a textbook I was reading nor an inscription on a monument I was visiting.
Newsome was charged with a misdemeanor “defacing monuments on state capitol grounds” which carried a sentence of up to 3 years in prison and a $5000 fine. Public pressure helped convince the state to dismiss charges against her.