GREENWOOD, SC (WSPA) – Local advocates want to remove a Confederate monument that’s currently outside an Upstate courthouse.
“It should not be here to pay homage to a time in which everyone wasn’t equal and we still fight for those equalities today,” said Black Lives Matter Greenwood co-founder Travis Greene.
He said the monument on the Park Avenue side of the county courthouse, erected in 1903, is privately owned.
“Either the united daughters of the confederacy or the daughters of the American revolution,” he said of the ownership. “If you read the article from 1903 in the newspaper, it says in favor and to remember General Lee. General Lee was the biggest racist in the state of South Carolina.”
He said that means a local judge’s recent ruling on a war memorial applies in this case too.
“His ruling from that case opened up many monuments to a new light under the heritage act. Under that ruling, it says monuments that are privately owned are not covered under the Heritage Act,” said Greene.
The Heritage Act makes it illegal in South Carolina to remove, change or rename a monument on public property without 2/3 vote from the general assembly.
“That means our tax dollars are being provided to take care of this monument owned by someone else,” Greene said, adding that BLM has a few requests of the county. “That they get the taxes that’s owed on this monument and that it’s moved. Two – that they erect a monument that pays homage to the black people that fought in the war against their will. Third would be that they move it to a place that’s privately owned like a museum.”
Some Greenwood County residents said the monument should stay as a reminder.
“It is just a huge part of history. Any monument to remember our history, where we came from – where black people came from where white people came from, it doesn’t matter,” said Marcy Pitts. “[It’s] not only a monument to what happened and to history but a monument to these people who lost their lives, who suffered, they should be remembered.”
One resident told 7News she understood both sides of the issue, and that people should be more open minded to how the monument affects different communities.
Pitts maintains that the removal is unnecessary.
“If we would spend less time being offended and more time learning to get along the world would be a better place,” she said.
Greene said they’re prepared to bring a lawsuit if their requests are not addressed.
Greenwood county council chairman Steve Brown said leaders have not had time yet to examine the requests and to see if the Heritage Act applies or not.
He said they hope to discuss it soon.