WHITEWASH: Charleston City Council Unanimously Voted to Take Down John C. Calhoun Monument
On June 23, 2020, the Charleston City Council unanimously voted on a resolution authorizing the removal of the statue and monument dedicated to John C. Calhoun, a 19th century South Carolina politician and one of the greatest statesmen in American history.
Per the resolution, the statue and monument will be relocated to a museum or academic institution at a later date.
“When I was approached with the idea of moving the statue from Marion Square, I was very concerned, because I know people on both sides are very passionate,” Council member Kevin Shealy stated. “But I believe the statue can be relocated to a place where it can be safely displayed for those who choose to visit it, and I believe we should move it there. I just believe it’s the best solution and the best compromise.”
City leaders voted for the resolution in response to multiple days of protests in front of the statue, which is located in Charleston’s Marion Square. Agitators ended up vandalizing the monument after Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg announced his decision to move forward with this resolution on June 18. This incident led to 9 arrests of individuals who were charged with property destruction.
“For those of you who did harm to our city, you’ve accomplished nothing here, other than adding to your criminal record” Shealy declared in a speech. “This has nothing to do with you. You’re not the reason for my decision tonight. … I’m going to support relocating the Calhoun statue, because it’s a wedge that’s splitting us apart. I support this … for hundreds of Black leaders who’ve made our city better every day. … My hope and prayer is that everyone will come together in Charleston. That’s why I’m making this decision.”
Calhoun served as a Congressman, Senator, Secretary of War, Secretary of State, and Vice President throughout his political career. He was a staunch defender of preserving states’ rights and an advocate of nullification of unconstitutional laws passed at the federal level.