Black lawmakers call for removal of Confederate flag on government property
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Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are calling for a national ban on the use of the Confederate flag on any government property — including license plates.

The CBC lawmakers introduced a resolution Thursday in the aftermath of last week's racially motivated shooting during Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine people.

"A hate crime of this nature must lead to effective legislation that will curtail similar incidences in the future," CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) said in a statement.


The resolution also urges the South Carolina legislature to take down the Confederate flag from the state's capitol grounds. The state's governor, Nikki Haley, called for the same earlier this week.

Displays of the Confederate symbol have come under renewed scrutiny after photos emerged of the 21-year-old white male shooting suspect, Dylann Roof, posing with the flag in what is believed by authorities to be a manifesto detailing his motivations for the massacre.

"We acknowledge that demanding the removal of these hurtful images and symbols that represent decades of hatred and oppression is only the first step in addressing the racism plaguing our country, but we must also acknowledge that symbols matter," said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a former CBC chairman.

Earlier Thursday, the House opted not to immediately vote on a resolution offered by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the sole black member of the Mississippi delegation, that would order the removal of Confederate images around the House side of the U.S. Capitol complex. Instead, members voted to refer Thompson's resolution to the House Administration Committee for review.

Both of Mississippi's senators, Republicans Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, have endorsed the idea of changing the state flag so that it no longer contains the Confederate image.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) this week ordered the removal of the Confederate image on state license plates.

The House canceled votes originally scheduled for Friday so lawmakers could attend funeral services for the shooting victims in Charleston. President Obama will be delivering the eulogy for the church's pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was also a state senator in South Carolina.