Museum OKs $350K plan for South Carolina Confederate flag
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A pared-down plan to display the final Confederate flag that flew at South Carolina’s Statehouse is headed for legislative funding approval following a vote Thursday by a museum board.
The plan is to display it in the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, although the museum’s commission is suggesting lawmakers may want to modify that and move it to the nearby South Carolina State Museum.
Lawmakers must approve funding for the $350,000 plan. Museum Executive Director Allen Roberson said the plan approved Thursday satisfies lawmakers’ mandate to create a display space. That requirement came as part of a July 2015 vote to remove the flag from Statehouse grounds after nine black Charleston churchgoers were killed by a gunman seen in photos with a rebel flag.
The removal of the flag from a 30-foot-high (9-meter) flagpole beside a Confederate soldier’s monument prompted the removal of other Confederate memorials around the nation.
The plan approved Thursday is dramatically pared down from an initial $3.6 million display proposal, which was rejected by legislators. Those plans had incorporated the flag display as part of a larger expansion and conservation project.
South Carolina’s law specifically sent the flag to the 122-year-old public museum, which has artifacts from every war in which South Carolinians have fought. A separate measure directed Roberson to estimate costs for the flag’s “appropriate, permanent, and public display.”
State law requires a two-thirds vote by the Legislature to change any historical monument. That requirement is part of a 2000 compromise that moved the Confederate flag from the Statehouse dome to its front lawn.
Legislative leaders have refused to reconsider requests by some lawmakers to change that law.
“I think the museum has exhausted enough of its time and resources on this issue,” Roberson said. “It is a significant artifact in the history of South Carolina. It is. And it needs to be displayed like that.”
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Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com