There is obviously a lot of public excitement surrounding Confederate Monuments these days. As Kevin Levin recently posted on cwmemory, about seventy-six Confederate Monuments have been removed from public spaces by local citizens and governments. Calls for removal continue are ongoing in various parts of the country and these can be seen right here in the Upstate.
Greenville’s Confederate Monument, (yeah, that Greenville), which stands outside of the Springwood Cemetery, is at the center of a local debate and protests. These debates between community organizers in the local black community and the city council are a continuation of what apparently was an agreement three years in the making. Unfortunately, recent events such as the COVID-19 Pandemic and a new task force centered on community-police relations is putting everything else on the backburner. This includes what was supposed to be a new historical marker that contextualizes the monument.
In Anderson, SC there are likewise calls to remove the Anderson County Confederate Monument. These calls lasted throughout the Summer but intensified recently with the death of Anderson native Chadwick Boseman (Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Black Panther). Petitions are circulating to remove the monument and replace it with a statue of Boseman. Frankly, this is an idea I can get behind. How awesome would be to have a statue of Black Panther in the middle of a county? Wakanda Forever!
In both cases, the monuments in Greenville and Anderson County are protected by state laws that regulate the monuments. The South Carolina Heritage Act requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the state House and Senate to remove any monument in the state. I’ve never been a fan of such laws as they strip the power from local governments concerning their historical landscape. Also, such laws create an environment where voices are not heard and have shown to lead to more destructive responses. I am hoping in future posts to dig into the history of these two monuments.