Chadwick Boseman was born on November 29 in 1977. He grew up in Anderson, South Carolina and attended T. L. Hanna High School. Anderson is also home to what is becoming an infamous Confederate statue. The statue, erected in 1902, is based on the likeness of a local man who fought for the confederates. The movement to erect this confederate movement was headed by a local school teacher and President of the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Anderson County.
Confederate statues endorse hateful ideologies. But one created by a local school teacher? That just happens to be placed directly in front of the town’s courthouse? That’s just not a good look. Since Chadwick Boseman’s death in Anderson, a movement has begun to replace the statue. After nearly 120 years of commemorating the Confederacy, Anderson’s statue may be meeting its end.
Chadwick Boseman inspired millions of people of color around the world. He was Marvel’s first POC character to have a solo movie. That movie, Black Panther, is among the only superhero movies to have a predominantly black cast. Chadwick Boseman wasn’t able to accomplish this because of luck and he wasn’t born into wealth and privilege as many celebrities are. Chadwick Boseman worked for everything he got, and he worked twice as hard because of America’s institutional racism. In his life Chadwick Boseman faced many challenges that white Americans will never have to. And it is because of his inspirational and dogged nature that the citizens of Anderson want to replace the confederate statue with a statue of Chadwick Boseman.
The petition to erect a memorial for Chadwick Boseman was created in the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s death. However, Anderson citizens have been trying to remove the statue for months. From the petition, “Earlier this year efforts were made by local residents to remove a Confederate monument located in the townsquare of downtown Anderson. Unfortunately, this effort gained no traction due to current South Carolina law. It is currently illegal to remove or alter monuments dedicated to confederate war efforts in the state of South Carolina, (Section 10–1–165)”. That’s right, according to South Carolina law, confederate statues cannot be removed or altered.
Because of this law, the petition to create a memorial for Chadwick Boseman is taking on more than just a prejudiced public. It will need every signature and ounce of support it can get. And, it appears that the petition may just receive the support it needs. The petition has, as I am writing this, more than doubled its signatures in a matter of hours. I am sure that the petition signatures will continue to increase for days if not weeks to come.
With hundreds of thousands of potential signatures, it will be more difficult for South Carolina’s lawmakers to ignore or brush off the petition. It would be remarkable if the city of Anderson not only erected a statue to commemorate Chadwick Boseman but also repealed Section 10–1–165. It must be understood, however, that repealing Section 10–1–165 will not be a quick matter. A new bill that would act as a nullifier will have to pass through the South Carolina Senate and House.
But if Section 10–1–165 is repealed it would be a huge win for communities all over South Carolina. Chadwick Boseman’s legacy is enduring. His character Black Panther bridged the way for a new generation of superheros that include POC communities and characters. If Section 10–1–165 is repealed and confederate statues across South Carolina are torn down his legacy could grow exponentially. If we all sign the petition, and even more importantly, keep up the fight to repeal Section 10–1–165 Chadwick Boseman and his memory can change America forever.
About the Author:
After being subjected to homophobic harassment in the classroom, Isabella decided to try and use her writing to encourage others to stand up for each other and themselves. Isabella is a high school student in Lafayette, IN.