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Thu Nov 22, 2018, 11:33 PM

South Carolina mayor takes on white supremacist monument [View all]

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina mayor knows that state law won’t allow him to take down a monument to a white supremacist killed during a Reconstructionist era riot. Instead, Mayor Bob Pettit is fighting to put up memorials for the eight black men who were also killed.

Mayor Bob Pettit of North Augusta has lived in the city since 1991. But he never paid much attention to the obelisk of Thomas Meriwether or the history behind it. Meriwether was killed during the Hamburg Massacre of 1876, which was launched by white supremacists seeking to seize local political control from blacks and carpetbaggers.

Meriwether was hailed at the time as a hero of white independence, and his death prompted South Carolina lawmakers to dedicate a monument to him in 1914. It holds the following inscription: “In life he exemplified the highest ideal of Anglo-Saxon civilization. By his death he assured to the children of his beloved land the supremacy of that ideal.”

There was no mention of the eight black men who were killed, and the incident lay dormant until a constituent came to a city council meeting in the wake of white supremacist violence that led to the death of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia in September 2017.

Read more: https://www.onlineathens.com/nationworld/20181122/south-carolina-mayor-takes-on-white-supremacist-monument

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