CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – In partnership with an out-of-state activist group, one local art center is calling for the removal of the John C. Calhoun statue through art activism.
Thursday night, many gathered around the 80 ft. tall statue inside Marion Square in downtown Charleston to express their thoughts on whether the John C. Calhoun statue should stay as is.
HAPPENING NOW- Many people are gathering around the John C. Calhoun statue in Marion Square.
Some see the statue as racist and are calling for the removal of the statue. Some are here advocating to keep the statue up #chsnews @WCBD pic.twitter.com/XkhgwKJ86T — Deanne Roberts (@DeanneWCBD) May 16, 2019
Kali Holloway, the Director of the Make it Right Project came all the way from Brooklyn, New York to partner with the Redux Contemporary Art Center to hold a performance event series using arts activism to ccall for the removal of what she calls, “the racist Calhoun marker and all symbols of white supremacy.”
“Artists really open up a space that allow for change to find it’s way in,” Holloway said. “Until you see the way it stands against the skyline, until you see the way it casts a shadow over the city, the way it casts a shadow over Mother Emanuel, you don’t get a sense of his presence. I think it demonstrates the tension that exists in this city.”
Musician/Activist, Benjamin Starr, actor/singer Nakeisha Daniel, Historian Damon Fordham and performer Javaron Conyers performed and shared their thoughts Thursday night. Some people say they attended in solidarity with the Make it Right Project movement.
“I just feel like it separates us and it stands for racism and it stands for the inferiority of minorities and that’s not what we should stand for here in South Carolina,” Summerville resident, Kathleen Willard said.
Some people made it known that they do not want the statue to come down.
“I’m just tired of people tearing monuments down it’s history good or bad,” Charleston resident, Alan Smith said. “Leave them alone and let people learn from them because if we tear them down, history is bound to repeat itself.”
Others said they don’t want to be reminded of the history they believe Calhoun represents.
“Black stories and black history needs to be told and told accurately, which includes telling the truth about Calhoun and what his white supremacist values mean to us today,” Charleston activist, Tamika Gadsen said.
In 2017 Charleston’s Mayor John Tecklenburg proposed adding a plaque to the calhoun statue to explain Calhoun’s political contributions to the state. The city’s history commission approved the language for the plaque, but the plaque is in limbo since Charleston City Ccouncil can not agree on whether to add it to the statue or not. The Make it Right Project says they will continue adovcating for its removal moving forward.