The Impassioned Speech that Helped Remove the Confederate Flag from the SC Capitol Grounds

Rep. Jenny Horne, a descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, tearfully urges removal of the "symbol of hate."

By Published on July 9, 2015

A South Carolina representative made waves late Wednesday night after giving an impassioned four-minute speech calling for the state to take down the Confederate flag.

A Republican from Summerville, Rep. Jenny Horne’s speech was immediately prompted by a desire to halt a series of proposed amendments to the flag takedown bill, which she said were obstructing rapid passage.

“The people of Charleston deserve immediate and swift removal of that flag from this grounds,” said Horne. “I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday! … For the widow of Sen. Pinkney, and his two daughters, that would be adding insult to injury, and I will not be a part of it!”

Horne voice quavered with emotion throughout the speech and at times she even screamed with tears in her eyes. She cited her own direct descent from Confederate president Jefferson Davis, in an effort to rebut arguments about the flag related to heritage.

“I have heard enough about heritage,” Horne said. “I have a heritage. I am a life-long South Carolinian. I am a descendant of Jefferson Davis, OK? But that does not matter. It’s not about Jenny Horne. It’s about the people of South Carolina who have demanded that this symbol of hate come off the statehouse grounds.”

Horne’s speech came near the end of a 13-hour debate in the South Carolina statehouse over whether to take the Confederate flag off of capitol grounds. Shortly after Horne’s speech, the House voted 94-20 to join the state Senate in approving the flag takedown. Despite the lopsided vote, some, including Horne herself, credit her speech with turning the tide of debate and ensuring the bill’s passage.

“At that point we were losing the vote. It was going south,” Horne told The Washington Post in an interview. “If what I did changed the course of the debate, and I do believe it did, then it needed to be done. Because that flag needed to come down a long time ago.” Horne claims her speech was unplanned.

Gov. Nikki Haley is expected to sign the flag takedown bill today, while the flag could come down permanently as soon as Friday.


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