Commission on Charleston History votes to send Calhoun statue to California museum

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – The Commission on the History of the City of Charleston has voted to send the statue of John C. Calhoun that previously stood in Marion Square for display as part of a exhibition in a Californian museum.

The recommendation will now be taken up by the entire Charleston City Council. Members will vote on a final decision next week.

The statue has been in storage since it was removed from its pedestal in June 2020 with the understanding that it would be placed safely in a museum or educational center.

However, several educational institutions and museums have refused the statue.

A letter to Mayor John Tecklenburg in June 2021, from the director of a visual arts center in Los Angeles, suggested the statue would make “a great addition” to a new exhibit called “MONUMENTS” at the Museum of Contemporary Downtown Los Angeles art.

The center uses contemporary arts to present an understanding of key issues and notes the actions of recent white supremacists, such as Dylann Roof, who shot nine people at a historic Charleston church, and the actions of James Alex Fields, Jr. in Charlottesville. in 2017.

He also mentioned Bree Newsome, who climbed to the top of a flag pole to remove the Confederate flag from Statehouse Park, and the dozens of Confederate monuments that have been removed from cities in recent years.

The director wrote in part:

“Although not a Confederate figure, Calhoun played a central role in the expansion and protection of slavery in the United States and supported the secession of South Carolina in his last public speech. The historical record surrounding the creation of both this monument and the original version reflects the contentious nature of these types of monuments from their inception … grappling with issues of heritage and representation and how municipalities can respond quickly to the news and the desires of their citizens.

The center would contract with a company specializing in rigging, transportation, installation and de-installation if project approval is granted.

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