Originally erected in 1887 by the Ladies’ Calhoun Monument Association, the John C. Calhoun memorial in Marion Square honors a South Carolina politician whose pro-slavery, white supremacist platform played a crucial role in supporting the South’s overall strategy during and after the Civil War. Calhoun died in 1850, but his speeches and political philosophies supplied the basis for the systems of violent white supremacy and institutionalized racism that have terrorized communities of color throughout the United States.
We will not stand for the sanitized, fictional portrayal of history this statue represents.
We will not honor a man who told the Senate in 1837 that slavery is a “positive good” because black people are “low, degraded, and savage.”
We will not honor a man who wrote in 1838 that “many in the South once believed that slavery was a moral and political evil. That folly and delusion are gone. We see it now in its true light, and regard it as the most safe and stable basis for free institutions in the world.”
We will not honor a man who in 1847 justified profiting off of slave labor by writing, “I am a Southern man and a slaveholder. A kind and merciful one, I trust, and none the worse for being a slaveholder.”
We will not honor a man who just a year before his death claimed, “With us the two great divisions of society are not the rich and the poor, but white and black, and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals, if honest and industrious, and hence have a position and pride of character of which neither poverty nor misfortune can deprive them.”
We will not honor a slaveowner, oppressor, and white supremacist whose ideas have been co-opted and romanticized by racist white terrorists and hate groups.