Leave a comment

Days after 30-year-old community organizer Brittany “Bree” Newsome scaled a 30-foot pole to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds, the nation is still invigorated by her fearless and powerful action.

Now, the North Carolina native, musician, and activist is speaking out about why she decided to take actions into her own hands, how the act of civil disobedience materialized, and what the act itself means for what is arguably the largest Black liberation movement in recent history.

Newsome’s concise but profound reasoning behind the removal of the historic symbol of racial oppression in America?

“I did it because I am free,” she wrote.

In a statement exclusively released to Goldie Taylor and posted to Blue Nation Review, Newsome said that the act of defiance — which came to be against a backdrop of violence and disenfranchisement of Black communities — was not only done for her enslaved ancestors, but also “in defiance of the oppression that continues against Black people globally in 2015.” Citing numerous examples of the terror Black people have endured in the past three years (spanning from the gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Trayvon Martin’s death, Ferguson protests, and the Charleston AME massacre), Newsome wrote that she refused to be ruled by fear and a system of “white supremacy [that] has dominated the politics of America resulting in the creation of racist laws and cultural practices designed to subjugate non-whites.”

And on the hurtful past the Confederate flag dredges up?

“…the emblem of the confederacy, the stars and bars, in all its manifestations, has long been the most recognizable banner of this political ideology,” she wrote. “It’s the banner of racial intimidation and fear whose popularity experiences an uptick whenever black Americans appear to be making gains economically and politically in this country.”

It had to come down.

Read an excerpt from Newsome’s statement that describes both how a group of activists and community organizers came together to execute the action and how the decision for her, a Black woman, to climb the pole was a conscious one to inspire Black girls and women everywhere. (Go to Page 2)

Bree Newsome On Why She Decided To Take Down South Carolina’s Confederate Flag was originally published on

1 2Next page »

20 thoughts on “Bree Newsome On Why She Decided To Take Down South Carolina’s Confederate Flag

  1. Release Date: July 2, 2015
    Marian Wright Edelman
    “For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever . . .” – Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII
    “The Negro race in America, stolen, ravished and degraded, struggling up through difficulties and oppression, needs sympathy and receives criticism, needs help and is given hindrance, needs protection and is given mob-violence, needs justice and is given charity, needs leadership and is given cowardice and apology, needs bread and is given a stone. This nation will never stand justified before God until these things are changed.” –“Declaration of Principles” of the Niagara Movement, a forerunner of the NAACP’s founding
    I am a native South Carolinian. Charleston is my maternal ancestral home. My great grandmother was born during slavery. My great grandfather I have been told was a plantation overseer. Never have I been more proud and more ashamed of my dueling ancestral heritages than in the aftermath of the terroristic murders of nine Black Christians engaged in Bible study at Charleston’s historic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a young White man infected by what Dr. King called, after President Kennedy’s assassination, “a morally inclement climate.”
    The young White visitor to the weekly Bible study came with a troubled spirit and racial rage inflamed by a White supremacist website. He was enabled to become a mass killer by readily accessible and largely unregulated guns – over 310 million in citizen hands and only 4 million in America’s law enforcement and military hands. But his dastardly deeds were bathed in an amazing spirit of forgiveness among the victims’ families.
    I hope this latest chapter in America’s pervasive history of domestic terrors against millions of Black citizens victimized by slavery and Jim Crow terrorism, denied full citizen rights throughout our history, relegated to subhuman three-fifths status in our Constitution and treated like beasts of burden to fuel our unjust economic system can be squarely confronted. Until the United States sees and cures its profoundly evil birth defects of slavery, Native American genocide, and the exclusion of all women and non-propertied men of all colors from our electoral process, these birth defects will continue to flare up in multiple guises to threaten our Black community’s and everyone’s safety, our nation’s future, and render hollow our professed but still inadequate commitment to ensuring equality for all.
    Slavery was followed by thousands of lynchings and racially instigated terrorism through hate groups like the KKK during the Jim Crow era. And it continues to be reflected in the unjust racial profiling and killings of Black boys and men by law enforcement agents and a mass incarceration system. Millions of Black and Latino children and people of color are trapped in a cradle to prison pipeline lodged at the intersection of race and poverty. That Black children are the poorest, most miseducated, most incarcerated, most unemployed, and most demonized of any group of children in America is a continuing legacy of slavery and Jim Crow that must end now. Let’s seize this latest tragic racial terrorist act to confront our history and how we teach our history. And we must all act together to reject our present day racism in all its structural, cultural and hidden manifestations with urgency and persistence. We must pass on to our children and grandchildren a more honest and just nation and a future free of the violence of racism, poverty and guns.
    I believe we are called in the aftermath of the Charleston massacre, the latest in a long and egregious history of unjust Black deaths, to confront the realities of our true history so that a new generation of White youths does not carry forth the poison of racial supremacy and White privilege. We also must act so that millions of Black, Native American and Latino children, soon to be the majority of our country’s children in a majority nonwhite world, do not have to continue to struggle against overt and covert culturally ingrained racism. We must firmly reject all symbols glorifying slavery and hatred that divide us. We must reject all efforts to subvert fair and democratic election processes including the precious right to vote. We must end mass incarceration and ensure equal justice under the law for all. We must confront massive inequality of wealth and income and end poverty, beginning with child poverty now.
    It is time to commit America to become America and to close the gap between creed and deed. On this 4th of July let’s send a ray of hope throughout our nation and world that we are committed to honoring our dream of equality for all. What an amazing grace moment we have been given to help our nation move forward together.

    Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children’s Defense Fund

  2. October on said:

    @specialt757, That’s why so many of them come to this site, spew non sense and wait for a reaction. It’s hard not to respond to ignorance.

    • specialt757 on said:

      Of course he did, so did the ones during the “boston tea party” and many other historical events leading to our free society. If “rules” are not broken in the country we would not have come as far as is has. Some idiots are just trying to start ish, either that or they are really just that dumb and don’t know history.

  3. jeperry on said:

    We are looking at the wrong point abuot the flag America went to war with another county. The confederate flag can not be show with the American flag point.

  4. Maybe if it was a black man climbing that pole to remove that dam flag, he would be shot. It’s too dangerous for our black brothers to do such. Just saying.

    • trich on said:

      I thought so too, but after reading her statement it’s obvious they didn’t want a black man involved. I think Bree was more comfortable with a white dude. Just sayin’.

  5. specialt757 on said:

    “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything” Drop the charges and let us begin to re-build a trusting relationship among black, white, red, and brown (which right now is hard to even imagine, President Obama couldn’t achieve this, but there is still hope). Removing the flag helps us to move forward and not continue looking in the past. Good for her, I’m very proud and support Ms. Newsome 100%. Thank you Ms. Newsome for having the courage and stepping out on faith.

  6. marva on said:

    I applaud Bree Newsome but it’s disturbing that her group excluded black men from participating in this protest. Its obvious she and her friends don’t value the presence of black men.

    • specialt757 on said:

      @ marva
      You believe her group purposely excluded black men? While I didn’t read anything about black men specifically, “I gathered with a small group of concerned citizens, both black and white, who represented various walks of life, spiritual beliefs, gender identities and sexual orientations.” I would venture to think they may have been included.

      • marva on said:

        Fact is, they decided her partner in that act of protest would be a white male. And given the history of that flag a black male’s presence would have been more appropriate. I don”t know for sure but i suspect Bree Newsome is one of those black feminists who don’t care for black men, and therefore more comfortable with caucasian males.

  7. really on said:

    Good job climbing Bree but that dumb flag wasn’t worth it…it symbolizes a bunch of losers anyway….who keeps a symbol of being a loser…lol only losers and that is too funny…when I see that flag I see a sign of a bunch of dummies….the American flag is for winners and I’m proud to be an American!

    • specialt757 on said:

      Some rules are meant to be broken. If Rosa hadn’t broken the rules, blacks would still be riding in the back of buses by law. Let’s move forward, keep your racist stupid remarks at the klan meeting where people can appreciate them.

      • Tammy on said:

        Exactly. And lets not leave out when rules were broken to teach blacks to read, escape from slavery, go to the back door, etc. Some rules need to be broken.

    • Tammy on said:

      “among her people”, please, white folks INVENTED breaking rule even when they are wrong rules to break and do harm to others. WHITE COLLAR CRIMES.

  8. gracebay1 on said:

    Let them keep their treasonous flag that they tried to secede under. Fought for slavery (and lost) under. Just don’t spend any money in SC.

  9. Ted A on said:

    publicity, ignorance, bigotry and intolerance for anyone who has a different heritage or better understanding of history than she does.

    • Eunice on said:

      Bree is right! People should realize that she had to use a white man instead of a black man. Didn’t she explain it as to why. If her answer wasn’t good enough for you it was for me. It was just people helping each other. It didn’t have as much impact if both had been black but it had a powerful impact because one was a black female and the other was a white male.

      • specialt757 on said:

        Of course, it wouldn’t have had the same effect. I don’t think it was personal against black men in general. As someone already stated, they might have shot him on site.

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

&pubUrl=[PAGE_URL_ENCODED]&x=[WIDTH]&y=[HEIGHT]&vp_content=plembeddf3ixunshlvk&vp_template=3854" ]