Bree Newsome, Confederate flag remover, speaks with PNS

Activist says ‘sustainable models’ of racial reform needed

July 13, 2015

Bree Newsome and Jimmie Tyson.

Bree Newsome and Jimmie Tyson. —Gregg Brekke


Bree Newsome, the Ignite NC activist who scaled the South Carolina State House flagpole to remove the Confederate flag, spoke to Presbyterian News Service July 11 prior to a surprise guest appearance at the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, N.C.

Driven to action by escalating violence against people of color and the June 17 murder of nine black parishioners at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, her June 27 act of civil disobedience galvanized a movement calling for the removal of the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism.

Jimmie Tyson, who dressed as a construction worker and collaborated in the effort to remove the flag, was also present for the moderated panel discussion.

Newsome spoke of her motivation for the action, her reaction to the S.C. legislature’s vote to remove the flag and the ongoing need for racial reform, activism and advice for people of faith hoping to be part of racial justice efforts.

Editor's Note: An updated version of the Bree Newsome video was added to this article June 16, 2015.

  1. Bravo for featuring this! This IS the work of the church; This is the work of the Gospel.

    by Zac Talbott

    July 23, 2015

  2. Jesus broke unjust laws in his ministry of inclusion and seeking for justice. Thanks for putting this on the website. What a dynamic, clear-spoken person Bree is. A leader; a person of action; a positive example for us all.

    by John Haas

    July 16, 2015

  3. Brilliant interview! I am humbled by her compassion and desire to work with social justice issues. Her actions are very unselfish - in fact, her actions are borne out of Love!

    by Ann Gold

    July 16, 2015

  4. I believe in change> I believe you need to follow the rules to make a change. Breaking the law is not the example you wish to display.

    by Dick Powell

    July 15, 2015

  5. Ms. Newsome defiantly ignored the State of South Carolina law by removal of a piece the states property. Hopefully she will be made held accountable for her unlawful behavior and not made a martyr.

    by Will Byerly

    July 13, 2015

  6. This speaker is filled with life. Presbyterians believe this so why don't we speak with this kind simplicity and energy - and climb more flag poles?

    by Dru Tyler

    July 13, 2015

  7. Way to go Presbyterian Mission Agency - you nailed it! More prophetic voices like Bree's on PC(USA)'s website, please. Thank you Gregg Brekke.

    by Sara Dingman

    July 13, 2015