The Confederate flag in South Carolina - level 3
South Carolina has voted to take down the Confederate flag after 16 hours of debate and weeks of controversy. In a move considered unthinkable by many just a month ago, the flag, which has flown above the statehouse for more than 50 years, will now be removed.
After the House passed the bill, in a surprise landslide by 93 to 27 votes, there were hugs, tears and high fives in the chamber. South Carolina's governor Nikki Haley signed the bill after a long and rowdy legislative session.
The move comes as Republican leaders in Congress called for talks on the flying of the flag across the US. A vote on a measure to defend the flying of the banner in cemeteries operated by the National Park Service was cancelled on Thursday.
The backlash against the emblem was sparked when a gunman Dylan Roof killed nine black people at a Charleston church last month. The 21-year-old was pictured brandishing the flag.
The Confederate battle flag is a very controversial banner in South Carolina. For some, it's a symbol of their heritage and history. For others, it's simply a reminder of slavery, racism and white supremacy.
Difficult words: controversy (a serious argument about something), statehouse (the building where people who make laws in a US state do their work), landslide (a great victory), rowdy (noisy and rough), brandish (to wave something around), heritage (traditional beliefs, values and customs), white supremacy (a form of racism).
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