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S.C. Residents Celebrate Senate Decision On Confederate Flag

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

After weeks of protests, hours of formal debate and still facing an uncertain future, a bill to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina's Capitol grounds was approved by the state Senate today. It was a serious occasion inside the Statehouse. But Ben Bradford, of member station WFAE, found a different scene outside.

BEN BRADFORD, BYLINE: On the plaza between the entrance to the Capitol and the flagpole with the controversial flag, about a dozen middle-aged black women are line dancing.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There you go.

BRADFORD: TV cameras quickly begin to circle, looking for revelry from supporters of the flag's removal. Chris Miller leads the dancers and he says that's not the intention.

CHRIS MILLER: When I chose to come down here, I honestly didn't know that today was what was going to happen today.

BRADFORD: They're a soul line dancing class from the local rec center. They came out for a change of scenery, but Revella Alston, an eight-year veteran of the class, says she's more than ready to celebrate.

REVELLA ALSTON: It's actually history making, and if they make the decision before we leave, we'll just be in the party mood.

BRADFORD: That decision didn't come today. The House still has to consider the measure. But for a brief moment, there was an impromptu celebration here on the Capitol grounds in the shadow of the Confederate flag. For NPR News, I'm Ben Bradford in Columbia. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ben Bradford is a city kid, who came to Charlotte from San Francisco by way of New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Prior to his career in journalism, Ben spent time as an actor, stuntman, viral marketer, and press secretary for a Member of Congress. He graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in theater and from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. As a reporter, his work has been featured on NPR, WNYC, the BBC, and Public Radio International.

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