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Lawsuits filed to stop the removal of memorials to Confederate leaders and a pro-slavery congressman in a South Carolina city have been dropped.
The Post and Courier reports that the American Heritage Association helped fund one of the lawsuits. It had been filed 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 also had filed a lawsuit opposing 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, a treasury secretary of the Confederacy.
The stone-and-metal monument to Confederate Gen. Lee, was removed in July 2021 and placed in storage.
The city made a deal with the South Carolina State Museum to take the statue of Calhoun.
Both suits had been filed in state court. The highway marker and auditorium lawsuit was dropped Sept. 13. The Calhoun lawsuit was dropped Sept. 15, the newspaper reported.
“Charleston monuments are an integral part of the city’s historical and artistic American landscape,” Barry told The Post and Courier. “Both the American Heritage Association and members of the Calhoun family look forward to commenting on the destruction of U.S. Vice President Calhoun’s monument and the associated lawsuit in the coming weeks.”
“As city attorneys have made clear from the start, there was never a violation of the Heritage Act,” Charleston city spokesman Jack O’Toole told The Post and Courier on Sept. 16. “And now that these lawsuits have been dropped, the city can start moving forward once again with plans for these historical items to be displayed in an appropriate public setting here in our state.”
While this may signal a win for Black folks in Charleston, South Carolina, only four and a half hours away in Graham, North Carolina, a judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the NAACP which sought to remove a Confederate statue in front of a historic courthouse.
According to ABC 13, Superior Court Judge Don Bridges ruled Tuesday, Sept. 14 against the state NAACP, which had argued that the 30-foot monument standing in front of the Alamance County Courthouse was a danger to public safety and violated constitutional rights to equal protection.
The NAACP had argued in its 2021 lawsuit that county officials had leeway to remove the statue under an exception for public safety. They also argue the monument’s presence in front of the courthouse also sends a negative message to Black residents who must pass it on the way to seeking justice under the law.
Even as the US military removes the names and fixtures of many of its racist leaders, the decision to preserve, remove or destroy Confederate monuments continues to be hotly debated in many Southern cities like Graham, NC and Charleston, SC.