COLUMBIA, S.C. – Recently, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled to largely uphold a state preservation law that will keep Confederate statues in place and thwart the will of communities that want to remove these dehumanizing symbols of hate.
The following statement is from SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks:
“We are encouraged that the General Assembly’s two-thirds restriction to approve a move or name change has been lifted, but remain dissatisfied that the Heritage Act continues to be the law in South Carolina.
“This law was enacted 135 years after the Civil War was lost. Upholding it after the massacre of nine African Americans during Bible study by a white gunman who embraced the Confederate flag sends a clear message that South Carolina is contently positioned on the wrong side of history.
“This ruling focuses on the compromise that saw this law pass in exchange for the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House's dome – an agreement lauded as ‘one of the great achievements in South Carolina history’ by its attorney general. However, the justices’ unanimous decision does not justify the law's value beyond this compromise. As White supremacist iconography is expelled nationwide, this decision prevents South Carolina communities from democratically acting to shape their own landscapes, ignoring our shared American experiences and history.
“Regressive preservation laws like the Heritage Act were created to circumvent the will of communities. With the two-thirds requirement struck down, we look forward to seeing localities and activists continue their work to remove symbols of hate and oppressive namesakes from public view.
“The SPLC will continue to support the advocacy efforts of Jennifer Pinckney and grassroots groups like Repeal the Heritage Act.”