On Wednesday night, members of the South Carolina House of Representatives engaged in a fierce debate over whether to pass Senate Bill 897 to remove the Confederate flag from flying over the state capitol. The debate follows a national dialogue over the Confederate flag after the June 17 attack in Charleston where white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine innocent African-Americans at a historic black church. Some 13 hours into the debate, Republican House member Jenny Horne made a passionate, tearful statement arguing against those who wished to keep the flag up, saying, “I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something as meaningful such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday … for the widow of Sen. Pinckney and his young daughters, that would be adding insult to injury.” Horne went on to say, “I have heard enough about heritage, I am a lifelong South Carolinian, I am a descendant of [Confederate president] Jefferson Davis but that doesn’t matter … remove this flag and do it today because this issue is not getting any better with age.” Horne says she didn’t plan the speech, and that it came to her when she realized the vote was heading toward not removing the flag. Many say she her speech helped change the attitude on the floor, paving the way for a 94-20 “yes” vote at 1 a.m.
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