ANDERSON, SC (WSPA) –Thousands of petitioners want a confederate monument in Anderson removed. Concerned residents said it glorifies slavery, but one lawmaker said the moving of a monument requires legislative support.
A petition that has received more than 19,000 signatures said the presence of the statue in downtown Anderson embraces slavery. Sam Brooks helped start the petition, and he now wants the statue removed.
“So it says what these men died for, was the right cause and that ultimately represents slavery and I don’t agree with that. It’s racist and it representatives inequality,” Brooks said.
The statue reads, “The world shall yet decide, in truths clear, far-off light, that the soldiers who wore the gray, and died with Lee, were in the right.”
State House Representative Gary Clary, said the Heritage Act, protects certain monuments and memorials. He said in some cases, a vote is needed before it can be dismantled.
“Contained in the Heritage Act, was provision to rename any street, school, building, do anything with any monuments upon state or public property, would require approval by a two thirds vote of the house, as well as the senate,” said Clary, State House Rep. District 3.
Clary said a bill will have to be introduced, and must go through the committee process. State Representative Seth Rose supports petitioners, as he’s filing a bill to remove the Ben Tillman statue at the Statehouse.
“These statues will come down. Will they come down next year, likely not. But with my voice, I’m awaken to the racial insensitive that are existing,” said Rose, State House Representative, House District 72.
In Clemson, University students have also started a petition. The petition asks to rename the John Calhoun honors program. Former football stars like, DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson are supporting it. Some students said Calhoun advocated for the expansion of slavery.
“Well I think the renaming of the honor college is probably the easiest thing to do. An honors college is not effected by the South Carolina Heritage Act,” Clary said.
While Clary said the fate of the Anderson Monument could be in the hands of lawmakers, Representative Rose and other activist said they will fight until the end.
“I believe full heartily that some point in our future Pitchfork Ben Tillman and other monuments and other individuals with namings around this state, that don’t deserve it, will come down in due course,” Rose said.
State Representative Rose said he plans to move forward with his bill quickly. 7-News also reached out to Clemson University regarding concerns with the honors program, we’re still waiting on a response.