In a stunning reversal, the first state to leave the union last night voted to remove the banner of the Confederacy from its state Capitol. The South Carolina House approved a bill early today after more than 13 hours of passionate and contentious debate, and just weeks after the fatal shootings of nine black church members at a Bible study in Charleston. A key tipping point came as the bill floundered, reports the Washington Post, and 42-year-old Rep. Jenny Horne—a Republican descendant of Jefferson Davis—ripped into her own party, at times "shouting through tears." Her impromptu four-minute speech, in which she lambasted the House for not having "the heart in this body to do something meaningful such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds," was, as the Post puts it, "so raw and impassioned" that it immediately went viral.
Her words proceeded to breathe new life into the take-down-the-flag effort and "alter the course of the debate, and with it, South Carolina history." The House subsequently approved the Senate bill by a two-thirds margin in a 1am vote, and the bill now goes to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley's desk. She supports the measure, which calls for the banner to come down within 24 hours of her signature. "It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state," Haley said in a statement. No date has been set for the removal, but Democrats who argued against some Republican lawmakers' objections to immediately taking down the flag warned that the KKK plans to hold a pro-flag rally on July 18.