Bree Newsome, an organizer and activist from Charlotte, North Carolina, took down South Carolina’s Confederate flag on Saturday morning by climbing up the 30-foot flagpole on statehouse grounds.
Authorities said she continued climbing the more than 30-foot-tall flagpole and unhooked the flag, ignoring orders from officers who arrived when she was about halfway up. As soon as Bree Newsome got down from the flagpole she was arrested and charged with defacing monuments on state capitol grounds.
A crowdfunding page has already garnered more than $65,000 in donations toward Bree Newsome’s bail, by late Saturday afternoon.
The South Carolina legislature is set to vote on taking down the Confederate flag, which requires a two-thirds majority in both houses. The flag has flown over the statehouse since 1962, when it was put up as a symbol of resistance to racial integration.
The Confederate battle flag, which is protected by state law, was raised again about 45 minutes later, well ahead of a rally by people who want to keep the flag where it is.
About the time of her arrest, Bree Newsome released an email statement to the media.
“We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer. We can’t continue like this another day,” the statement said. “It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”
Bree Newsome graduated in 2003 from Oakland Mills, where she was known as Brittany. She was active in student government, serving as president of her class for her first three years and president of the student body as a senior.