Ben Tillman Statue Controversy Continues - DatelineCarolina

Ben Tillman Statue Controversy Continues

The Ben Tillman plaque does not mention he was an advocate of killing African-Americans. The Ben Tillman plaque does not mention he was an advocate of killing African-Americans.

By Carolyn Callahan

     The plaque on Gov. Ben Tillman's statue next to the South Carolina Statehouse says he was a leader of the common people.   It doesn't say is that he advocated the killing of African-Americans in South Carolina. Some people want Tillman's statue plaque changed to reflect that.

     "Ben Tillman was one of the most vehement racists in South Carolina's history and a self-proclaimed racist. In fact in his obituary it proclaimed him as one of the greatest white supremacists in South Carolina's history," said South Carolina Representative Todd Rutherford.

     Historical records state the former Governor and US Senator was a leader in the killing of African-Americans who sought for equal rights in the state, and some people feel having his statue at the Statehouse is an insult.

     "To have this statue right there on the front of the Statehouse grounds, right where everyone can see it right on Main and Gervais, is an insult to the African-Americans and to people that don't believe that South Carolina's history ought to be filled with people that represented hatred," said Rutherford.

     The bill to remove the statue of Ben Tillman is no longer being considered because not everyone feels the same way as Rutherford.

     "I really think that you can't change history by making it politically correct. You can't change the reality of what happened by trying to make it politically correct," said South Carolina Representative Mike Pitts.

     Despite the hold up, Rutherford still plans to continue to push for the change. He wants the proper and complete history to be brought to light.

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