National Action Network to organize march to repeal state Heritage Act

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The National Action Network is planning a statewide march in January to push for the repeal of the Heritage Act.

Elder James Johnson said the group will stage a statewide march in support of repealing the Heritage Act on Jan. 9. The group says the repeal of the state's Heritage Act, which could pave the way for the John C. Calhoun statue in Marion Square to come down.

Speaking at the base of the statue, civil rights leaders called for the "whole truth" to be told about Calhoun, who they say was a strong supporter of slavery.

State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, standing at the base of the statue, said he fears history might repeat itself.

"We've gone back to business as usual," Gilliard said regarding weekend violence in Charlottesville.

Gilliard called Calhoun viewed black people as property and said it is "time to bring down statues of hate."

Gilliard issued a news release Tuesday afternoon stating the only remedy to removing a statue or monument that "depicts or promotes division by virtue of its history" is for the state General Assembly to repeal the 2000 Heritage Act. The act requires a two-thirds vote from the general assembly to determine the fate of historic markers and monuments on public property, he said.

"Even though the state has the final decision in this matter, it would help if our local governments promoted the removal in the form of a resolution to support this effort," Gilliard said.

The network's news conference comes one hour after the Charleston chapter of the NAACP called for the removal of a statue of John C. Calhoun in downtown Charleston.

However, the land on which the statue sits is owned by the Washington Light Infantry and the Sumter Guard.

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