Last June, after a 21-year-old white gunman, entered a church in Charleston, South Carolina, declared he was there “to shoot black people,” and killed nine, the image of the Confederate battle flag began disappearing across the country. The shooter had posed with the flag in pictures before the shooting, and his car had Confederate license plates. The massacre catalyzed a bipartisan movement to erase the symbol from public display. The Confederate flag was removed from South Carolina’s statehouse, and monuments and memorials honoring Confederate soldiers were taken down. Walmart, Amazon, and other big-name retailers stopped selling any merchandise bearing the symbol. Last month, the Republican-controlled House passed legislation that would ban the flag from some military cemeteries.
This week, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., one of the country’s most prominent churches, followed suit, voting unanimously to remove the two images of the Confederate battle flag from its windows. The cathedral said in a statement Wednesday the images will be replaced by plain glass, and the removal will be paid for by private donors.
Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and the interim dean of the cathedral, told The New York Times Thursday she only learned of the images’ existence last summer.