until 1 July 2000
, the Confederate battle flag
flew over the South Carolina
Statehouse, below the United States
and state flags
. That day, it was retired to flying at a Confederate soldiers' memorial
on the grounds.
The original purpose, as stated in the statute ordering the flag to be flown, was to honor the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. IMHO, that's only half the story; desegregation was being federally enforced at the time, and raising the Confederate flag was a middle finger of sorts at the damn yankees daring to impose their will upon the state. And, of course, it reminded the black population of the state that they still had zero say in the way things were. Logically, if the flag-flying was to honor the CW's 100th anniversary, it should have come down in 1965. It didn't, though.
In 1999 and 2000, taking down the flag became a national issue, and the NAACP proclaimed a tourism boycott of SC until the flag was taken down from the statehouse. The state legislature was very reluctant to do this, but a compromise was suggested by the NAACP at the beginning of the national focus in 1999 that would remove the flag to a soldiers' memorial on the grounds of the state capitol. This was rejected out of hand.
As the national noose started to tighten on SC's tourism industry, though, compromise started looking like a very good idea. So, the state legislature agreed to relocation of the flag to this soldiers' memorial. But the NAACP threw a fit when this happened, claiming that the soldiers' memorial, being on a corner of the grounds, offered more visibility for the flag, and therefore wasn't such a good place for the flag after all. They vowed to continue the boycott until the flag flew nowhere at all.
This is where they lost any amount of sympathy I might have had with them -- as it appeared to me, they proposed a compromise when they knew they had zero chance of getting an agreement to it, then pulled back the offer when acceptance seemed likely. That seemed more than a little duplicitous to me.