If you think that Tom Hall, born in Chester, a direct descendant of one of the signers of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession that led to the Civil War, is for keeping the Confederate flag on the Statehouse grounds, you would be dead wrong.
“A gentleman is a gentle person,” Hall said. “A gentleman does not want to offend a huge segment of the population by that flag. That flag hurts every black person in this state of South Carolina, and no gentleman would do that. The flag is not South Carolina. That flag is meant by racists to show blacks that every time they see that flag, that to them blacks are second class. Not as good. It must go – now.”
Hall, 47, a lawyer who lives in Columbia, is one of the leading proponents in South Carolina of removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds forever and has spent years making a movie about the duplicity of the Confederate flag called “Compromised.”
Hall has been in rallies at the Statehouse to bring the flag down since the killing of nine black people last week by a white supremacist at a Charleston church. He spoke at Saturday’s rally to bring down the flag that was one public event that led Gov. Nikki Haley and others to push for the flag to come down after years of indifference.
Hall is named for his great-great-grandfather, Dr. Thomas Wade Moore of Chester, a signer of that document that led to the war. His great-grandfather was Maj. Tom Brice who fought for the Confederacy.
But that does not make slavery right, and it does not make the Confederate flag flying in the face of blacks right, Hall said.
Hall does not want memorials and other markers moved, as they are part of history. But the Confederate flag, Hall said, is a political tool of racists who have sneered at blacks and integration in general since the 1940s.
“The flag must come down so that we can heal as a state,” Hall said.
His movie premieres Saturday at Columbia’s Nickelodeon Theater in two showings at noon and 12:30 p.m. on two screens with a question-and-answer session afterward. A Rock Hill showing is expected soon. All the proceeds are going to the Emanuel AME Church, the site of the June 17 shooting.
“If you truly love your heritage, which I do, you know that the flag should be furled,” Hall said. “I grew up running barefoot on the former plantation in Chester along Fishing Creek. That is my heritage, and I am proud of it.”
But the Confederate flag of racist politicians and racists in general is not the heritage of people such as Tom Hall. The Confederate flag, long adopted by hate groups, only came into public life through politicians who were trying to stem equality and civil rights, Hall said.
“If you love your southern heritage – which I do – you should be the first to want to bring that flag down,” Hall said. “People (who support the flag staying up) have been used as pawns in a political chess set.”
Andrew Dys • 803-329-4065 • firstname.lastname@example.org