To Add Or Subtract – The Debate of Confederate Monuments
Republicans Bill Chumley and Mike Burns of South Carolina, want to build a monument to honor African American Confederate veterans. While most states are debating the removal of Confederate monuments, both representatives wish to build another. Walter Edgar, a former director of the Institute for Southern Studies for the University of South Carolina points out that documentation of firearm-wielding African Americans for South Carolina ceases to exist during the Civil War. South Carolina had enforced laws that forbade persons of color to hold firearms until 1865. African Americans listed on payrolls were either cooks or personal assistants (servants). Along with a monument, Chumley and Burns wish to include the contributions of Confederate African Americans into school curriculums.
Meanwhile, a review of the monuments at the South Carolina State House, cover a range of history for the state. Notably the Spanish American, and the Revolutionary War, both of which South Carolina contributed to. Controversial monuments are not so much representative of the Civil War, but the character and life of the persons depicted.
Controversial Monuments include:
Wade Hampton: Raised money for the KKK but was not a leader of the movement. He inherited a great amount of land and a large number of slaves. Estimates show at one point he owned around 3000 slaves.
Benjamin Tillman: Former governor and senator of South Carolina, known for lynch mobs, and his views on separation of blacks and whites.
Marion Sims: known as “the father of gynecology.” Controversial for his experiments which involved non-consenting African American women.
Not all monuments on the State House grounds hold such controversial meanings. The African American Monument, also known as the “slave monument” details the history of slaves in the state, from point of origin and emancipation. Other monuments include the Armed Forces Memorial, and a memorial to the late State Newspaper founder, who was shot by a Lt. Governor of the state, for being critical of a state governor.