Thousands sign petitions for Chadwick Boseman statue to replace Anderson Confederate monument
Two online petitions have gained more than 13,000 electronic signatures in an effort to erect a Chadwick Boseman memorial in place of an existing Confederate monument in the famed actor’s hometown.
Boseman, an Anderson native, died Friday after quietly battling colon cancer since 2016. He was 43. Boseman was known for portraying Black icons Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall on the silver screen before playing the first Black superhero in 2018’s “Black Panther.”
“Mr. Boseman is without question an American treasure and his accolades go on and on. It is only fitting that his work is honored in the same place that birthed him,” one of the online petitions stated.
One petition, which launched Saturday, had gained 11,000 signatures by Monday afternoon.
The petition writer, DeAndre Weaver, graduated from Anderson University in May as the first Black student to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the school’s acting program.
Boseman’s career and advocacy are legacies Weaver hopes to emulate, which is why he wrote the petition at 2 a.m. on the morning after the actor’s death made headlines.
“The monument, for a long time, has represented an ideology that saw Black Americans, like myself, as inferior. So, to have the opportunity to honor someone who saw all people as equal – and not only said that but showed that – would be great,” Weaver said.
Thousands of Chadwick Boseman fans sign petition to replace Confederate statute in his hometown with monument of him https://t.co/o5F6W6RJck— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) August 31, 2020
The Confederate monument in question is located in Anderson’s Town Square, just outside the county courthouse. It was defaced in June sparking conversation between monument supporters and opponents.
At the time, Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts said he would work with County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn to “quickly” get people together to talk about how to move forward.
“It’s totally against our fabric, our way of life in this community and what we believe in,” said Roberts, who was elected as the city’s first Black mayor.
The statue’s removal, however, requires a two-thirds approval vote of the state legislature under the SC Heritage Act.
On Monday, Mayor Roberts said he and the city are exploring the process of asking the legislature to allow changes to the monument, but it would be a long process.
“At this moment we want to allow (Chadwick’s) family and our community time to mourn his death,” Roberts said. “We have an opportunity to honor Chadwick in a bigger way, that’s being talked about.”
Sam Brooks, an Anderson resident spearheading the effort to relocate the monument, helped write an online petition in June calling for its removal.
While Brooks was not involved with organizing the new petitions calling for a Chadwick Boseman memorial, he said Monday that moving the statue from downtown Anderson would be a way to honor Boseman, who was an outspoken supporter of racial justice and made strides for Black representation.
“When someone like that from your hometown dies, you want to honor them. And I think that’s the heart of it. And also, what better way to honor him than to just remove or relocate something that needs to be should have been gone a long time ago?” Brooks said.
Brooks said his grassroots team of activists have created a plan to relocate the monument, which they will take to city leadership next month.
Although Brooks said his group has made “lots of progress,” counter-petitions calling for the statue to say have also garnered attention.
Weaver said he plans to get involved with Brooks and the group already working to get the Confederate monument removed. He said the tremendous support for his petition could mean a new legacy for the city of Anderson.
“The monument currently stands as a symbol of Anderson’s past. And I hope a monument of Mr. Boseman could be a monument to the future and what Anderson can be.”
Do you support the decision to replace the monument with Boseman’s statue?