CHARLESTON, South Carolina (AP) – The Los Angeles Art Space wants to display a South Carolina statue of former vice president and slavery advocate John C. Calhoun as part of an art exhibit, but city group members have expressed concerns about the political nature of such a display.
The Charleston History Commission on Wednesday voted to defer a recommendation on the proposal to the Charleston City Council until further information is provided, WCSC-TV reported.
The nonprofit LAXART wants to unveil a Calhoun monument in a 2022 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in downtown Los Angeles. In addition to its focus on Confederate imagery, the exhibit will “include the perspective of restitution, healing and greater reckoning for America’s past,” LAXART director Hamza Walker wrote in a letter. to the mayor of Charleston.
But Commissioner David McCormack questioned the proposal, saying, “It looks like this exhibit will be an eminently political, eminently ideological event that will likely continue to promote an unfounded view of John C. Calhoun.”
“We, as a commission, have a responsibility to both the City of Charleston and South Carolina to prevent the Calhoun statue from becoming a pawn in the hands of individuals and organizations that we know little about and have no control over,” McCormack added. …
The city has owned the Calhoun Monument since 1885, when the Lady Calhoun Memorial Association issued the document to him.
The statue was removed from Marion Square in Charleston. in June 2020 after the community objected to what the monument symbolized following the assassination of George Floyd. The removal came five years after the murder of nine black parishioners in a racist attack at a church in downtown Charleston.
In a letter to city officials, Walker said the exhibit will feature a group of “recently decommissioned Civil War monuments from across the United States,” and said such statues are “a physical manifestation of faith in a lost cause.”
Walker said that even though Calhoun died before the Civil War, the statue would be a valuable addition to the planned exhibition because Calhoun played “a key role in the expansion and defense of slavery in the United States,” and advocated the secession of South Carolina. from the Union.
Calhoun was Secretary of War to President James Monroe. He was also vice president of John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.
Calhoun never gave up slavery. In several speeches in the US Senate in the 1830s, he said that slaves in the south were better off than free blacks in the north, while he called slavery a “positive good.”