No Debates on Confederate Monuments, South Carolina Speaker Says

Now that the Confederate flag has been removed from the South Carolina Statehouse, a lot of people are worried Confederate monuments, memorials, or streets or buildings named for Confederate heroes will be next. But Speaker of the South Carolina House Jay Lucas says while he’s in charge the House won’t even discuss removing anything else.

He released a written statement saying, “The South Carolina House of Representatives will not engage in or debate the specifics of public monuments, memorials, state buildings, road names or any other historical markers. The General Assembly, the House in particular, made it abundantly clear during the debate of the Confederate flag that the only issue they were willing to discuss was the placement of the battle flag on the North lawn of the State House. We reached a swift resolution last week and in doing so put an end to this discussion. Debate over this issue will not be expanded or entertained throughout the remainder of my time as Speaker.”

He said he’s been contacted by several state universities and colleges asking or suggesting the General Assembly address changes or exceptions to the state law that protects monuments, historical markers, street names, and buildings named for historical figures or events.

Clemson and Winthrop both have Tillman Halls, named for former governor Ben Tillman, who helped found the schools. There’s also a statue of him at the Statehouse. And there’s an organized campaign to remove that statue because Tillman was an avowed white supremacist who advocated lynching.

But Rep. Joe Neal, D-Columbia, said Friday, “There is no plan to go after removal of any of those monuments or statues.” He said lawmakers would like to talk about adding some signage to the Tillman statue to more accurately reflect who he was, though.

Amanda Williams, who’s from Chicago and was visiting the Statehouse Friday, said, “I think it’s important to actually keep all the statues, good and bad, because I think it’s an important way to tell the whole story.”

Sharon Moore, of Hartsville, SC, agrees. “I think we should leave things just as it is, leave our monuments and statues as it is. Everything holds a special part in South Carolina and I think we need to leave it like it is.”

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