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South Carolina town remembers Confederacy’s founding

November 24, 2018

ABBEVILLE, S.C. (AP) — The Sons of Confederate Veterans have put up a new memorial honoring the men who signed the document for South Carolina to leave the United States.

The Confederate heritage group paid for the monument on private land in Abbeville on what is called Secession Hill after key speeches there led the state to decide to leave the Union after President Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860.

The 20-ton (18,100-kilogram), 11-foot (3.3-meter) tall granite marker has the names of the 170 men who signed the Ordinance of Secession and an excerpt of the document’s text.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans unveiled and dedicated the marker Nov. 10. Group member Albert Jackson, who raised money for the project, said it’s important to push back against people who think remembering Southern heritage is racist and wrong.

“We don’t want too much. We just want our heritage to be left alone. We want our heritage, our monuments, out flags and everything else we represent. Nothing more and nothing less,” Jackson said at the dedication.

The group originally wanted to put the monument in Charleston, where the Ordinance of Secession was signed, but the Patriots Point Development Authority and North Charleston both rebuffed efforts to put the marker on public land.

Instead, Robert Hayes, who owns the Abbeville site where a series of speeches was credited to pushing South Carolina to leave the Union, offered his land. Hayes plays Confederate President Jefferson Davis at historical events and for years ran a shop in town full of Confederate memorabilia, from flags to T-shirts to bumper stickers with slogans like “If at first you don’t secede, try, try again.”

The marker joins a marker known as The Rock, marking the spot where men gave their speeches in 1860.

“Some of us true secessionists kiss it and wish for it again,” Hayes said of The Rock, according to The Greenwood Index-Journal. “Ladies and gentlemen, you’re on scared ground. And it is henceforth going to be more sacred.”

The new marker is just a few blocks away from a historical marker placed two years ago to remember the lynching of Anthony Crawford, a rich black farmer attacked by a white mob after he defended himself with a hammer after a white store owner attacked him in an argument.

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Information from: The Index-Journal, http://www.indexjournal.com

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