Tuesday letters: Remove Ben Tillman’s statue

February 4, 2014 

— Will Moredock’s full page ad in the Jan.14 State about the statue of former Gov. Ben Tillman is a reminder that there is something on the State House grounds far more reprehensible than the Confederate flag. After all, the flag did not grow arms and legs to exercise a legacy of racial hatred toward people of another race.

What concerns me about the hero worshipping of Mr. Tillman is all the children who have paraded by the statue on their school-sponsored field trips. These fresh young minds read the carefully crafted words that serve as a veil of deceit about a man who favored lynching blacks.

In due time, the statue will be removed from the State House grounds. This state has a history of foot-dragging on racially divisive issues. I would settle for the Tillman statue being moved to a less prominent area, and a statue of another former governor, Strom Thurmond, put in its place.

For those who focus on Mr. Tillman being a Democrat, I say that his efforts to hinder and disenfranchise black voters with Jim Crow tactics certainly would complement the present-day efforts of a certain political party that sponsors legislation to once again hinder and disenfranchise blacks and other minority voters.

If Mr. Tillman were alive today to witness his blue Democratic Party electing an African-American president, he would turn red.

John T. Hampton


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