Lawsuits to block removal of abandoned Confederate memorials in South Carolina

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CHARLESTON, SC (AP) — Lawsuits filed to stop the removal of memorials to Confederate leaders and a pro-slavery congressman in a South Carolina town have been dropped.

The Post and Courier reports that the American Heritage Association helped fund one of the lawsuits. It had been deposed by descendants of John C. Calhoun, a former congressman and vice president who died before the Civil War, opposing the city of Charleston’s removal of Calhoun’s statue.

The association had also filed a lawsuit over the removal of a Robert E. Lee Memorial Highway marker from the campus of a charter school in Charleston and the renaming of an auditorium that had been named after Christopher Memminger, Swiss Treasury Secretary.

The stone and metal monument to Confederate General Lee was removed in July 2021 and placed in storage.

The city has reached an agreement with the South Carolina State Museum to take Calhoun’s statue.

Both lawsuits were filed in state court. The road marker and auditorium lawsuit was dropped on September 13. Calhoun’s lawsuit was dropped on September 15, the newspaper reported.

READ MORE: At least 160 Confederate symbols removed in 2020, new count

AHA President Brett Barry declined to comment on the status of Calhoun’s case, despite the descendants’ request for dismissal.

“Charleston’s landmarks are an integral part of the city’s American historical and artistic landscape,” Barry told the Post and Courier. “The American Heritage Association and members of the Calhoun family look forward to commenting on the destruction of the monument of U.S. Vice President Calhoun and the associated lawsuit in the weeks ahead.”

Opponents of Lee’s memorial removal had accused the city of violating the state heritage law, which protects certain monuments.

“As city prosecutors have made clear from the beginning, there was never a violation of heritage law,” City of Charleston spokesman Jack O’Toole said. at the Post and Courier on September 16. “And now that those lawsuits have been dropped, the city can start moving forward again with plans to have those historic items displayed in an appropriate public setting here in our state.

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