At least eight retailers have banned sales of the Confederate flag at their stores and websites as public and corporate pressure mounts to force lawmakers in South Carolina to remove the Civil War-era symbol from its state Capitol.
According to Yahoo, Google joined Amazon and eBay Tuesday to stop the sale of the flag on its shopping site Tuesday.
"We have determined that the Confederate flag violates our ads policies, which don't allow content that's generally perceived as expressing hate toward a particular group," a Google representative said in an emailed statement sent to Reuters.
So far, the other retailers who have announced bans are Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Sears Holdings Corp., EBay Inc., Etsy Inc., Target Corp., and Spencer Gifts.
NASCAR has also called for South Carolina to remove the flag.
"As we continue to mourn the tragic loss of life last week in Charleston, we join our nation's embrace of those impacted," NASCAR said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon, according to ESPN. "NASCAR supports the position that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley took on the Confederate Flag on Monday."
But long before any of these corporations called for the flag’s removal, it was mostly black Americans who pressured officials in South Carolina to pull down the flag. Monday morning, Gov. Haley made an announcement that she supports pulling the flag down.
“It came down to one simple thing,” Haley told the New York Times in a phone interview Tuesday. “I couldn’t look my son or daughter in the face and justify that flag flying anymore."
Those weren’t her sentiments in 2010, when she was running for governor. At the time, she said the flag is “not something that is racist,” but rather, “a tradition that people feel proud of,” according to the Times.
Haley also refused to take the issue on during her five years in office. Calls for the flag to be removed came after photos of white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof posing with the flag became public. Roof allegedly killed nine black people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church last Wednesday in what is widely considered a racially motivated attack. His racist ideology is well-documented. For many black people, the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate that belongs in a museum, not on Statehouse grounds.
Lawmakers will meet in a special session this week to debate whether to officially remove the flag from state grounds or not. The Confederate flag flew over the Statehouse dome until 2000, after the NAACP and other civil rights organizations forced officials to remove it. In a compromise, the flag was moved to the front of the Statehouse where it currently flies.
The Post and Courier reports that there is support in both the House and Senate to remove the flag, according to a poll it is conducting among lawmakers.
If lawmakers officially vote to remove the flag from Statehouse grounds, it will end a long battle many black locals have waged over the past several decades at least.
And it only took nine black people being murdered by a white supremacist to achieve it.
Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior editor at AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @Russian_Starr.