The Confederate battle flag became a point of contention after photographs emerged of white terrorist Dylann Roof with the battle flag. Roof is the self-confessed killer of nine Black people in a racially motivated terror attack in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, which took place on June 17, 2015.
Below are five key points about the Confederate flag:
1. The flag was never actually the flag of the Confederate States of America, which succeeded from the Union and prompted the U.S. Civil War with its origin in the battle over slavery. This flag closely associated with the Confederacy is actually just the battle flag of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.
2. One of the Confederacy's official flags, which includes the famous “battle flag” in its corner, was all white in order to symbolize white supremacy, according to its creator.
“As a people we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause.” wrote William T. Thompson in the Daily Morning News, May 4, 1863.
3. The Confederate battle flag came to prominence as part of anti-desegregation efforts in the U.S. South in the mid-20th century and has always been associated with anti-Black racism.
4. White supremacist groups, such as the KKK and the White Citizen's Council, also adopted the battle flag as a symbol for their racist fight to preserve segregation and white supremacy.
5. Mississippi is the only U.S. state to still prominently feature the battle flag. In fact, voters in that state overwhelmingly chose in 2001 to keep the old flag with the Confederate symbol. Mississippi lawmakers are now also talking about changing the flag.