CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston area community activists say justice needs to be served after the statue of an antislavery rebel in Downtown Charleston was vandalized over the weekend.
Denmark Vesey purchased his freedom and was later killed in 1822 for leading a movement against slavery. The statue honoring Vesey was erected in Hampton Park back in 2014.
City of Charleston officials say the statue was vandalized sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning leaving “significant” damage to the granite pedestal.
Activists say the act, which left holes in the base of the statue was senseless and leaves them concerned over why it happened in the first place. Activists are calling the vandalization a “Hate Crime” and those responsible need to be held accountable.
Calls for justice echoed through Hampton Park Monday morning as a group of roughly activists gathered to condemn the vandalism.
“Tearing up this statue won’t change our hearts,” says Pastor and community activist Thomas Dixon. I want you to understand that.”
Hours after a statue to Denmark Vesey was left vandalized, community activists called on city leaders to take action.
“This is violence,” says Dixon. “This is vitreous. This is done by people who have no soul.”
Denmark Vesey serving as a revolutionist led a movement against slavery. Pastor Dixon says the vandalism is a mockery to all the work he did.
“We stand here today to say not only enough is enough, but we going to shut this fellow down,” says Dixon.
Those leaders now calling for action to be taken but say if the calls go unanswered, they can no longer sit by without taking action.
“We’re going to disrupt the economic basis of this city and we’re going to do it legally and we’re going to do it without harming anyone,” says Dixon.
The statue serving as a representation of a time past, Pastor Dixon says the act won’t keep activists from fighting for equality.
‘When we say black lives matter, it don’t matter whether you tear this up, we’re not going to stop,” says Dixon. “We’re not going to stop.”
The Racial Justice Network released a statement condemning the vandalism saying it’s heartbreaking to see everything Vesey stood for be treated as a mockery. The Charleston Police Department is continuing to investigate.