After black educator Brittany ‘Bree’ Newsome was arrested last week for scaling a pole and taking down the Confederate flag that hung over South Carolina’s capitol, she quickly became a social media sensation, inspiring artists to portray her as a modern day superhero.
“The photos of her were already iconic and historical in nature, everyone recognized that immediately. I was using the wonder woman iconography because it immediately invokes a whole number of ideas,” Feminist artist Rebecca Cohen told Public Radio International
“I liked the immediate associations invoked by the Wonder Woman iconography — the all-Americanness, the feminism, empowered women. All of that stuff sort of comes together really crispy with Wonder Woman. I like the idea of blending that established character with this sort of real-life superhero.”
The flag’s removal was a deliberate action by a group of teachers and activists amid a heated debate about the flag’s historical legacy of racism, intensified by a racially-motivated terror attack that killed 9 Black people at a historic African-American church in South Carolina June 18.
Newsome’s arrest sparked a social media campaign and a petition, under the name “Free Bree,” calling for her release.
The Confederate flag’s famous take-down also inspired a ‘Super Mario’ videogame, in which the character removes the Confederate flag and lifts the LGBT rainbow one.