COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD)- Former Congressman and Democratic candidate for Governor Joe Cunningham has renewed his call for the removal of Confederate Memorial Day as a state holiday.
Cunningham said Election Day should be observed as a state holiday instead, calling the observance of Confederate Memorial Day in South Carolina “embarrassing.”
“This is another example of how our state continues to live in the past. It’s embarrassing. When I’m governor, we’re going to end Confederate Memorial Day and make Election Day a state holiday instead,” Cunningham said in a statement Tuesday.
South Carolina observes Confederate Memorial Day on May 10, the day when Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson died in 1863 and the day Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union soldiers in 1865. The holiday was officially recognized in 2000 as a compromise to the addition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January to the state calendar.
Some efforts have been taken in the state legislature to return Confederate Memorial Day to the list of optional holidays.
In March, the South Carolina Senate unanimously passed a bill that would allow state employees to take the Juneteenth holiday or any other day instead of Confederate Memorial Day. The bill currently sits in committee.
Alabama and Mississippi are the only other two states to recognize Confederate Memorial Day as an official state holiday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report