Bree Newsome Speaks Out: 'I Did It Because I Am Free'

Bree Newsome Speaks Out: 'I Did It Because I Am Free'

Bree Newsome, an African-American woman who was arrested for scaling the pole at the South Carolina state capitol and removing the Confederate flag, speaks out for the first time with the Blue Nation Review.

Published June 29, 2015

While the country was debating whether the Confederate flag should continue to fly at government buildings in the South, Bree Newsome took the matter into her hands Saturday.

In an act of courage, the filmmaker and activist climbed the pole at the South Carolina state capitol and took down the Confederate flag. The courageous leader has broken her silence, releasing a statement to the The Blue Nation Review Monday.

| THE CONFEDERATE FLAG DEBATE: HOW LEADERS AND BUSINESSES HAVE RESPONDED |

Many called Newsome the modern-day Rosa Parks, as Newsome's actions were strategized with a group of organizers, including James Ian Tyson, a white ally, who was also arrested Saturday for aiding and standing guard while Newsome scaled the pole. The flag was placed back on the pole. But the South Carolina Legislature voted to remove it from the Statehouse Monday.

Newsome's reflective and moving words touched on the pain she's endured fighting as an activist in this "multi-leader movement" and how the murder of nine people in Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church became a catalyst leading to her radical act on Saturday. For many, the Confederate flag is a dark reminder of America's enslavement of African-Americans and the ills of white supremacy. 

Some of Newsome's words in Blue Nation Review:

Words cannot express how deeply touched I am to see how yesterday’s action inspired so many. The artwork, poems, music and memes are simply beautiful! I am also deeply grateful to those who have generously donated to the defense fund established in my name and to those who have offered to cover my legal expenses.

As you are admiring my courage in that moment, please remember that this is not, never has been and never should be just about one woman. This action required collective courage just as this movement requires collective courage. Not everyone who participated in the strategizing for this non-violent direct action volunteered to have their names in the news so I will respect their privacy. Nonetheless, I’m honored to be counted among the many freedom fighters, both living and dead.

Read Newsome's full statement here

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(Photo: AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

Written by Natelege Whaley

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