Removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina's statehouse grounds was an important symbolic victory, but some are questioning whether bringing it down accomplished anything tangible for race relations in the United States.

South Carolina had flown the Confederate symbol since the dawn of the civil rights movement. State officials removed it Friday after the shooting deaths of nine black churchgoers last month in Charleston. The accused shooter was a Confederate flag enthusiast.

Removing the flag won't eliminate racism, poverty or lack of access to resources in the South. Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain says it might make things worse, given the strong feelings of some whites and blacks over Confederate imagery.

But others view the lowering of the flag as a positive first step in racial reconciliation.