The Confederate flag took one more step toward eventual obscurity this week. Following a shooting spree by a racist serial murderer at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last week, politicians and businesses lined up against the historically divisive banner.
Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old who killed nine people at a Bible study meeting on June 17, posted pictures of himself online that prominently featured the Confederate flag and other white supremacist iconography.
The resulting outcry following the massacre and Roof's connection to extremist ideology reinvigorated old debates about the inclusion of a symbol of racism and slavery in 21st-century American society.
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley declared Tuesday that the state's legislature should vote to remove the flag from outside the State House.
The speaker of the State House in Mississippi, Philip Gunn, similarly insisted the emblem be removed from his state's flag. In Alabama, Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday ordered the flag removed from public grounds. Meanwhile, Amazon, Walmart, eBay and other big name retailers are pulling Confederate flag merchandise from their stores.
Seemingly overnight, the Confederate banner went from disputed, but somehow acceptable to socially, politically and commercially untenable. There are still holdouts, however, who see the emblem as standing up for Southern heritage.
Here's why they're wrong.