After Confederate Flag, Former SC Democrat Governor Tillman Statue Next Target
The Confederate flag is not the only racially divisive symbol that lawmakers have discussed removing from the State House grounds after nine African-Americans were shot and killed at a Charleston church last month.
But unlike the flag, which could be lowered by the end of this week, debate over whether to remove a State House statue of a white supremacist, for example, will have to wait until January, when lawmakers return for the 2016 regular session.
“Why is he up, by the way?” House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, said of the monument to “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman, a former S.C. governor, U.S. senator and member of an all-white, post-Civil War militia responsible for lynching African-Americans.
When lawmakers return to work Monday, they only can take action on Gov. Nikki Haley’s state budget vetoes and the Confederate flag – limitations they set in agreeing to continue working after the regular session ended June 4.
The flag is “where the focus should be,” said state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston.
But that does not mean lawmakers will not debate, eventually, the public display of other controversial symbols.
Kimpson, for example, recently called for lawmakers to remove the Tillman statue. At some point, “a legitimate discussion has to occur about divisive symbols,” he said last week.[…]
African-American Monument: Authorized as part of the 2000 compromise, which removed the Confederate flag from atop the State House dome and other flags from inside the capitol, to honor the contributions of African-Americans to South Carolina. The monument, dedicated in 2001, includes 12 panels that illustrate black history from the Middle Passage to the Civil War to the civil rights movement to today.
Bronze stars on the State House: Mark places where Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army shelled the State House in 1865
Confederate battle flag: Moved to the State House grounds in 2000 from atop the State House dome, where it had flown since the 1960s More