Ben Tillman statue under fire (South Carolina)
“I just don’t think his statue should be on State House grounds,” said Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, noting Tillman for years made speeches about killing African-Americans who sought their rights.
Some lawmakers don’t expect the resolution to pass but prefer adding a plaque that would explain Tillman’s history accurately.
“A plaque would stand a better chance of passage because it simply tells the truth,” said Rep. Joe Neal, D-Richland. “History is what it is, and there’s an argument that you can’t change it (by removing a statue). But what you can do is tell the truth.”
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John R. Maass - 1/22/2008
When I went to the U of SC to check out their graduate school in 2002 (for history) I had some spare time and walked to the nearby state capitol bldg. to see for myself the Rebel Flag that had made so much news. What an ironic surprise I got to see the Tillman statue, esp. having just read Stephen Kantrowitz's superb book, Ben Tillman and the Reconstruction of White Supremacy (The University of North Carolina Press, 2000) I suppose that both the NAACP and the press had no real idea who he was and what he stood for, but I saw him and his statue as a far greater symbol of the racist southern past as the rebel flag.
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