What you should know about Charlotte activist Bree Newsome’s catapult into the national spotlight

Freedom fighter. National hero. “Historical badass of the week.”

These are just three of the phrases being used to describe Charlotte activist Bree Newsome after she climbed the flagpole that held the Confederate flag outside of the S.C. State House in Columbia Saturday morning.

She carried out this act of civil disobedience just hours before a pro-Confederate flag rally was scheduled to occur on those steps.

Timeline of events:

– Newsome and ally James Ian Tyson went to the pole in question Saturday morning. Tyson, seemingly dressed as a construction worker, guarded the bottom for Newsome. Newsome, outfitted in climbing gear, began her journey up the 30-foot pole.  

– Police officers asked her to come down as she climbed, but she continued on, reciting Psalm 27 and the Lord’s Prayer as she descended, according to Democracy Now!

– She, along with Tyson, were immediately arrested. Both were charged with defacing a monument on state Capitol grounds. Offenders of this misdemeanor can face three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

– Both Newsome and Tyson were released on a $3,000 bail and were told they were “allowed to leave the state if they wished,” according to USA Today.

Four quick facts 

(1) Filmmaker Michael Moore offered to pay her bail and any legal fees she faces. 

(2) CREDO Action, a social change network, created an IndieGogo campaign titled “Bail for Bree Newsome” on Saturday with a flexible funding goal of $20,000. $115,300 — 577 percent of that goal — had been raised by 4,514 people as of 6 p.m. Monday. Four days remain.

(3) The President of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, compared Newsome to Rosa Parks in a statement sent to the Huffington Post.

In the statement, Barber called her a “committed, trained, non-violent messenger of the truth,” praising her act of civil disobedience. Newsome “stands in a long tradition. … Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and more recently hundreds of protesters in Moral Monday … were all considered, at first, criminals for their acts of conscience.”

(4) Newsome describes herself as a writer, director, producer, singer, songwriter, activist, consultant and speaker on her website.

The 30-year-old graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she received a degree in film and television. She recently released the song “#STAYSTRONG: A LOVESONG TO FREEDOM FIGHTERS.”

bree newsome

Social media reaction

//><!--Numerous celebrities were vocal on social media following the event://--><!

Several users of the #freebree hashtag voiced their views artistically.

Obviously, not every tweet supported with her actions.

//><!--However, others noted that Newsome’s “misbehavior” (i.e. technically breaking the law) was necessary.//--><!

In a statement to Blue Nation Review, Newsome said the “struggle doesn’t end when the flag comes down.”

“The Confederacy is a southern thing, but white supremacy is not,” Newsome said. “Our generation has taken up the banner to fight battles many thought were won long ago. … Black Lives Matter. This is non-negotiable.”

AP Photo/Bruce Smith

Madysan Foltz
 Madysan Foltz @MadysanFoltz