COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Poignant. Thoughtful. Angry. Racist. The thousands of emails and letters sent to Gov. Nikki Haley as lawmakers debated removing the Confederate flag outside the South Carolina Statehouse reflect all sorts of emotions.
Haley's office released this correspondence Wednesday as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. Her office redacted last names, email addresses and other identifying information.
Here are excerpts from a very small sample, as written:
"You have spit in the faces of every Yankee & Rebel who died in that use less war nobody won nobody lost ... my grandmother would turn you over her knees and paddle your bottom."
David from Lindale, Texas
"First, I am a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Many of my ancestors served in the Southern Confederacy ... For many years I have been a supporter of keeping the flag in place on statehouse ground. However, the murder of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney along with 8 other of my Christian Brothers and Sisters changed my heart ... My Christian duty requires me to call for the removal of the Confederate Battle flag from statehouse grounds."
Randolph from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
"While I do not minimize the tragedy to the families of the seven Negros who lost their lives nor condone the actions of Dylann Roof, I consider you a disgrace and a traitor to America, to the state of South Carolina and to your race."
Mark from Middleburg, Florida
"The rebel flag means to me home. Southern pride. Wheat fields, sunflower fields, deer hunting, hard work, trucks, racing, family and pride in where I am from. Born and raised here and damn proud of it. Ignorance 'flies' both ways. An item can not be racist, unless you are an easily offended person, or racist yourself."
Stanley from Greenville, South Carolina
"About 2 weeks ago there was a shooting at Emanuel AME church. When I heard about this, I was sad as can be to know there are people out there against Black People."
Handwritten note, with a smiley face stamp and hearts, from Amayah, age 10
"So if Dylann Storm Roof had posed with the Nazi flag would you go after the country of Germany."
Paul from Glendale, Arizona
"Thank you for standing up and calling for the removal of the confederate flag. Not because I believe it stands for hate (it might, but that is irrelevant) but because the flag does not represent the United States of America."
Geoffrey from Rock Hill, South Carolina
"I'm still trying to figure out how that mean old flag talked that man into killing people."
James from Warrior, Alabama
"I am beyond disgusted that you, Ms. Haley, have the AUDACITY to shed tears and behave as if you have sadness and compassion for the horrific tragedy that has unfolded. Am I implying that you are not sincere? You bet I am!"
Andrea from Austin, Texas
"As a female and a Southerner, you are positioned to be a national leader. You are willing to take action when many waffle, especially male politicians. While I am not of your party affiliation, I certainly would vote for a person who truly leads."
Emmett from Ocala, Florida
"I will give up my confederate flag when all the Martin Luther Kings roads and steets signs are removed."
Gloria from Blairsville, Georgia
"Now we have nothing to define the South and will be so ostracized and labeled as racist more so then ever if we dare choose personally to fly the flag. She's basically made the flag criminal. Thanks you gut less pig."
Ty from Florence, South Carolina
"The current flag needs to come down either way. It has been allowed to be hijacked by hate groups. Those that revere it while being upstanding Americans will suffer unfairly."
Larry from Charlotte, North Carolina
"This is a moment in which we can say that the flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state, and that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony."
Part of Gov. Haley's response to both supporters and critics, even some who used racial slurs against her.