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As a part of this new liberal trend to tear down all the Confederate monuments, activists in Greenville, S.C., requested a Confederate statue outside Greenville’s Springwood Cemetery to be taken down.
But the city responded saying that cannot be done even if they wanted to.
Travis Greene, the head of Fighting Injustice Together (FIT), stated that the activists want the monument to be gone because of its “racist premises.”
“We feel like it is a symbol of oppression for African-Americans here,” stated Greene, who admits he had no idea the monument even existed until a few weeks ago.
The statue was put there in 1923 and before that is was located on Main Street since 1891, they moved the statue to the cemetery because of automobile traffic.
The statue now is located near the graves of nearly 80 unidentified Confederate soldiers.
Bruce Wilson, the founder and CEO of FIT, formally requested for the monument to be taken down. And the city replied this Friday in a letter from city attorney Michael Pitts.
Here is the letter:
“Dear Mr. Wilson,
“I have been provided with a copy of your August. 20, 2017 correspondence to the Greenville City Council. I write in my capacity as the city attorney solely to clarify the facts and law surrounding this important issue for our community.
“The Confederate statue is located in a public plaza adjacent to the Springwood Cemetery. While not integrated into the cemetery itself, it nevertheless sits on property that is part of the cemetery, the parcels of which have been assembled over the years by various conveyances of property. The city does maintain the plaza as it does all such public places. It is my understanding the statue itself requires no ongoing maintenance.
“The statue is not privately owned. It was the subject of a 1924 lawsuit where the South Carolina Supreme Court recognized the statue is public property. Grady v. City of Greenville, 129 S.C. 89 (1924).
“The statue is a war monument or memorial covered under Section 10-1-165 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, commonly known as the Heritage Act. The Act provides as follows:
‘(A) No Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, War Between the States, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Native American, or African-American History monuments or memorials erected on public property of the State or any of its political subdivisions may be relocated, removed, disturbed, or altered. No street, bridge, structure, park, preserve, reserve, or other public area of the State or any of its political subdivisions dedicated in memory of or named for any historic figure or historic event may be renamed or rededicated. No person may prevent the public body responsible for the monument or memorial from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection, preservation, and care of these monuments, memorials, or nameplates.
‘(B) The provisions of this section may only be amended or repealed upon passage of an act which has received a two-thirds vote on the third reading of the bill in each branch of the General Assembly.’
“In light of the Act, the statue may not be moved or otherwise relocated. Nor may it be covered as that would constitute disturbing and/or altering the statue, which is also prohibited. The provisions of the Act may not be repealed or amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the South Carolina General Assembly on third reading.
“This letter strictly addresses the legal issues raised by the Heritage Act and does not reflect or address any Council Member’s opinion concerning the appropriateness of the monument or its location. If you have any questions about the City’s legal position, I would be delighted to address them.”
Wilson’s activists issued a statement saying Greenville didn’t win the war with this rejection.
“We fully understand the complexity of the Heritage Act and as such we plan to make a counter request on September 5th that we believe will be welcomed by all parties and representative of all member of our community,” the statement read.
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