Just a few years ago, a Confederate flag flew atop the South Carolina statehouse. Now, rainbow flag banners line the streets of downtown Columbia along the parade route for SC Pride’s Sept. 4 parade. In a state that has dealt with blatant racism in government just 10 years ago, the banners signify more than just a parade route.

SC Pride organizers were allowed to place the banners on light posts along Main and Gervais streets in downtown Columbia during the festival, according to event organizers. SC Pride is a week-long festival running from Aug. 29 - Sept. 6.

SC Pride lets the flags fly

“The banners are hung by the city, but you have to get the permission of the businesses around there,” a former organizer told qnotes, an LGBT news site covering North and South Carolina.

“It was a combination of working with city hall and working with the businesses themselves, which was a pretty neat experience for those involved.”

According to the qnotes, organizers faced no resistance from the local business associations in their bid to put up the banners citing Columbia’s progressive leanings in the middle of one of the country’s most conservative states.

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