A Muslim American faculty scholar mentioned he had fought again tears when he noticed the picture of a Trump supporter carrying the Confederate battle flag via the halls of the Capitol on Wednesday.
A Black Senate aide who for years has walked confidently via the halls of Congress mentioned his emotions of security had crumbled when he noticed the picture.
And a Black historian mentioned she had instantly considered James Byrd, the Black Texas man who was dragged to dying by white supremacists in a pickup truck in 1998.
The historian, Mary Frances Berry, a professor of historical past at the University of Pennsylvania, mentioned she had felt “disgust” and recalled “wanting to scream.”
“To see it flaunted right in front of your face, in the United States Capitol, the heart of the government, was simply outrageous,” she mentioned.
Amid the photos and movies that emerged from Wednesday’s rampage, the sight of a person casually carrying the Confederate battle flag outdoors the Senate flooring was a piercing reminder of the persistence of white supremacism greater than 150 years after the finish of the Civil War.
Months after statues of Confederate leaders and racist figures had been eliminated or torn down round the world, an unidentified man in bluejeans and a black sweatshirt carried the emblem of racism via the Ohio Clock hall, previous a portrait of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, an abolitionist.
The emblem has appeared in the Capitol earlier than.
The Mississippi flag, which as soon as featured the Confederate image prominently, hung in the Capitol until June 2020, when it was changed after a vote by the State Legislature to take away the emblem.
But Wednesday was the first time that somebody had managed to carry the flag into the constructing as an act of rebel, in keeping with historians.
The man carrying the flag confronted much less stringent safety than that encountered by the Confederate troopers who didn’t penetrate Union forts guarding the Capitol throughout the Battle of Fort Stevens on July 11 and 12, 1864, mentioned William Blair, professor emeritus of historical past at Penn State and the former director of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at the college.
“The Confederate flag made it deeper into Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, than it did during the Civil War,” he mentioned.
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The sight, Professor Blair mentioned, was “jarring and disheartening.”
“There is so much confusion about people who fly that flag,” he mentioned. “But even if they try to divorce slavery from it — which you can’t — how do you justify waving the flag of a confederacy that tried to tear the country apart, then call yourself a patriot?”
Representative Colin Allred, a Black Democrat from Texas, mentioned his spouse had been texting him whereas he was on the House flooring to see if he was secure and had despatched him a picture of the man with the flag.
The picture was affirmation, he mentioned, that those that had stormed the Capitol had been “tied deeply” to white supremacism.
“That is something that will stay with me,” Mr. Allred mentioned. “They set up a noose and scaffolding on the Capitol Hill. This event has to be a wake-up call.”
Josh Delaney, a deputy legislative director for Senator Elizabeth Warren, mentioned he had been at residence, watching the riot unfold on tv, when the picture appeared on the display.
“It was like time stopped,” he mentioned. “My stomach dropped. I don’t know if I stopped breathing, but it was shock. I can only imagine that’s what it must be like to be really in shock.”
Mr. Delaney, who wrote in The Boston Globe about seeing the flag, is Black and grew up in Georgia, the place the flag was a painful however commonplace reminder of the place he was not welcome.
He mentioned he had by no means anticipated to see the flag in the Capitol, the place he has labored for greater than six years.
“I have always felt like this is the safest place I could ever be if anything ever happens,” Mr. Delaney, 31, mentioned. “To have that illusion shattered, I don’t know that I’ll ever have that same feeling again.”
Raheel Tauyyab, a junior at the University of Virginia, mentioned he had realized about the flag from a professor who was monitoring the information about the riot on his laptop throughout a digital class Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Tauyyab, 20, a Muslim American who mentioned his purpose was to in the future work at the Capitol, mentioned he couldn’t overlook the traumatized look on his professor’s face.
“I won’t lie: I did shed a tear,” he mentioned. “It was really stabbing to the heart to see something like that happen.”
The Rev. Robert W. Lee IV, a great-great-great-great-nephew of Gen. Robert E. Lee who has supported broad elimination of statues of his ancestor, mentioned he had been fighting what he was planning to inform congregants on Sunday at his nondenominational church, the Unifour Church in Newton, N.C.
He mentioned he couldn’t get the sight of the flag “desecrating” the Capitol out of his thoughts.
“It shook me to my core in a way that other images haven’t over the past four years,” he mentioned. Since Wednesday, he mentioned, he has sat at his laptop and struggled to provide you with the proper phrases.
“It struck me as something that, in this moment, as someone who is supposed to know what to say as a clergy person, I have nothing,” he mentioned. “I’ve got nothing on this.”