Martin Luther King remembered without the Confederate flag

January 20, 2016 6:42 am

Gail Hollin wears a shirt bearing the image of the Rev. Photo / APFor the first time in 17 years, civil rights leaders gathered at the South Carolina Statehouse to pay homage to the Rev Martin Luther King without the Confederate flag casting a long shadow.
The rebel banner was taken down last year after police said a young white man shot dead nine black church members at a Bible study in Charleston.
“Isn’t this a great day? It’s so nice to be standing here and not looking at that flag,” said Ezell Pittman, who had attended most of the King Day anti-flag rallies since they started in 2000. “I always had faith it would come down. I hate it took what it did, but was real happy to see it go.”
Across the , the 30th anniversary of the holiday to honour the civil rights leader assassinated in 1968 was remembered in different ways. In Michigan, people delivered bottled water to residents of Flint amid the city’s drinking water crisis. In Atlanta, an overflow crowd listened as to the Housing Secretary talk about the 50th anniversary of King’s visit to Chicago to launch a campaign for fair housing.

In Minneapolis, activists braved frigid temperatures as they marched to protest the deaths of two black men shot by police there last year.
In California, protesters from a Black Lives Matter offshoot group shut down one side of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge when they stopped vehicles and chained themselves and the cars together to form a line across it. The group emerged in response to police killings of unarmed blacks in Ferguson, Missouri, New York and elsewhere.
Motorists exit their vehicles as Black Lives Matter protesters block traffic on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to demonstrate against police brutality. Photo / AP Motorists exit their vehicles as Black Lives Matter protesters block traffic on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to demonstrate against police brutality. Photo / APAbout 1000 people gathered at the South Carolina Statehouse, drawn in part by appearances by all three main Democratic presidential candidates – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
Only Clinton dealt directly with the flag, crediting Governor Nikki Haley and fellow Republicans with working with black rights group NAACP after the church shooting and choosing King’s legacy over hatred.

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