Guest Editorial- Fairfield NAACP: Take Down Monument

Jenkins

The Fairfield County NAACP is requesting that the Town of Winnsboro remove the confederate symbols that are erected on public land located in front of the future Fairfield Administration Building (Old Mount Zion School).  The Fairfield County NAACP and concerned citizens are not in agreement with there location of the Fairfield County Administration Building to the designated area.  However, we have been informed that it will be constructed in the Mount Zion School facility located on Hudson Street in Winnsboro, SC.  Confederate symbols on public land, in effect, endorse a movement founded on white supremacy.

In TIME magazine, James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, stated, “It’s not just that the statues represent white supremacy, but the purpose of building the statues was the perpetuation of white supremacy.  This is why they put them up in the first place; to affirm the centrality of white supremacy to southern culture.” 

A confederate monument stands on the edge of the Mt. Zion Institute property. | Barbara Ball

In the past, the white supremacy ideology was mostly covert, but in the present time, there is a movement that has become extremely overt in the United States.  The death of a black state senator and members of Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston SC and the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis are just two among many events that should be essential to mention at this time.  These events sparked thousands of people to take to the streets and call for a nationwide removal of confederate and racist monuments.  A mixture of all races of people, right at this moment, are protesting prejudice behavior, hatred, and murder across this great nation, the land of the free, America.  If we want to make America Great, then follow what your Bible says, Love your neighbor as yourself and do not offend your brother. 

Most of the employees who will work in the Fairfield Administration Building are people of color, Blacks.

Blacks are afraid of losing their jobs if they speak against the transfer of their workplace to the Mount Zion building.  Most citizens of color and many white citizens of Fairfield County consider confederate symbols to be a reminder of slavery, past oppression and hatred, racial inequality, and injustice, as well as past and present racism in the US, South Carolina and in the county of Fairfield. 

We must show our citizens that Fairfield County gives no safe harbor to such hatred.  We must remove the confederate monuments that are located on the grounds of Mount Zion School on Hudson Street in Winnsboro, SC.   If our government continues to pay homage to the Confederacy, people of color can never be sure they will be treated fairly.  We will never solve our community’s problems if groups of citizens feel alienated or targeted for discrimination because of monuments which represent a history against blacks.

Confederate symbols belong inside museums and on private property.   In museums, those who wish to can learn their full history.   Citizens can still erect monuments on their own property.  However, it is past time to move the monuments to an appropriate place.

Mayor Gaddy, Town Council Members, County Council Members, Representative McDaniel, Senator Fanning, Governor McMaster, The Voice of Fairfield County and the rest of the community should research how to remove the confederate statue.   Because of its removal from the original location and relocation on North Zion Street, it should not be protected by any law in South Carolina.

 If at the conclusion of the research, there is no resolve for the removal, we strongly recommend that Mayor Gaddy and the Town Council join forces with the Mayors of Columbia, SC and Charleston, SC to declare Civil Disobedience as a means for the removal of the confederate monuments in the Town of Winnsboro.  The removal must be swift and immediate.

Together we can make our communities safer and our county a place where liberty and justice are truly for all people.

Jennifer More Harper Jenkins, Fairfield County NAACP President