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Meriwether monument in North Augusta topic of special called meeting

November 12, 2018

The future of the monument memorializing the Hamburg Massacre and a man who died during it will be discussed Monday evening.

Over a year ago, during a September meeting of the North Augusta City Council, in the wake of the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, North Augusta resident Kenton Makin stepped up to the podium and asked Mayor Bob Pettit and members of Council to review and denounce the Meriwether monument downtown.

On Monday, the mayor will reveal the results of an ad hoc group he formed, and recommendation of a path forward. The mayor formed the group, made up of those with knowledge about the monument and history, to discuss what could be done.

No official action will be taken regarding the monument during Monday night’s meeting, but a motion to receive the information is in order, according to the agenda.

One issue that may stand in the way is the Heritage Act, which prohibits the removal, changing or renaming of any state or local Confederate or Civil Rights monument.

The monument memorializes Thomas Meriwether, the sole white man who died during the Hamburg Massacre, or Hamburg Riot, in 1876, but only tells the story of one of eight victims. Along with Meriwether, seven black men were killed.

The monument, located in Calhoun Park off Georgia Avenue, calls Meriwether a “young hero.”

“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,” the obelisk reads.

Monday’s meeting will take place in Council chambers on the third floor of the North Augusta Municipal Building at 100 Georgia Avenue. The special called meeting will be at 6 p.m.

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