CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston City Council plans to discuss potentially removing the John C. Calhoun statue from Marion Square on Tuesday.
City Council will consider moving the statue to somewhere it will be protected and preserved, while also explaining the history behind Calhoun.
Marion Square was closed to the public Monday evening after protesters for and against the statue’s removal escalated. The park reopened at dawn on Tuesday.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the resolution which will be discussed Tuesday night said while we acknowledge Calhoun’s efforts as a statesman, we can’t ignore his positions on slavery and discrimination.
Mayor Tecklenburg also said Calhoun was one of South Carolina’s most consequential defenders of white supremacy.
He said two years ago he asked the city’s History Commission to add a plaque with historical context to the statue, but they couldn’t agree on that. Now, Tecklenburg said the time has come for the statue to stop dividing the Holy City.
“A resolution calling for a relocation, but listen to this, to a local museum or other academic institution where that necessary long and overdue reckoning can truly begin,” he said during a news conference last week.
Mayor Tecklenburg said the Calhoun statue is a not a war memorial and it is not on public property, therefore, it does not fall under the state’s Heritage Act.
Meanwhile, the Washington Light Infantry Sumter Guards will not challenge the removal of the Calhoun statue.
The board of officers released a statement saying:
“The Washington Light Infantry Sumter Guards Board of Officers has no ownership interest in the Calhoun monument … and with assurances that the board’s ownership and interest in Marion Square will not be impacted by the city’s anticipated removal of the statue, has no legal basis to challenge the city’s actions.”
Charleston Police arrested one person in connection to the protests on Monday after two groups of protesters came face-to-face.
Black Lives Matter supporters want the Calhoun statue removed while another group says you should not try to erase the past and wants the statue to stay.
The monument is currently sitting behind a fence and barricades.