By Maria Boynton

“No reflection of our history should be related to any degree to enhance the Confederacy as we know it”, says Dr. Charles Steele, national president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Steele, who heads the Atlanta-based Civil Rights organization founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957, is calling for all aspects of the Confederacy be “removed from our society.”

The SCLC was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. (Credit: Getty Images)

The SCLC was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. (Credit: Getty Images)

Steele’s comments, along with those of Atlanta NAACP Richard Rose, are part of the outcry that was heightened following the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The alleged gunman, who shot and killed 9 African Americans during Bible Study, had been photographed with the Confederate Flag. Many see the flag as a symbol of hate. Rose has called for the removal of Confederate soldiers Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson from the face of Stone Mountain, located in a suburb of Atlanta. Steele believes that the South needs to stop commemorating the Confederacy.

The SCLC leader says that he knew all of the Emanuel 9. He says that the “mean-spiritedness of the Confederacy brought about the violence” at Mother Emanuel, and “throughout history was known for violence.” The Confederacy, according to Steele, “brought about people who actually tried to secede from America and actually tried to overthrow this country.” According to Steele, “if African Americans, people of color, brought about the terroristic structure of the movement of the Confederacy, we would have been lynched or deported from this country.”

-Maria Boynton, CBS Local

Click below to hear Steele talk about structures he thinks should be renamed.


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