The South Carolina Attorney General has issued an opinion on the proposed removal of the confederate flag housed in the Summerall Chapel at The Citadel.
The opinion reads “…it is our opinion that this Flag may not be removed or relocated,” and is based on the Heritage Act.
Earlier this month, Charleston County Councilman Henry Darby proposed cutting $975,000 in accommodations tax dollars to the Citadel until they take the flag down.
Read the full decision quoting the Heritage Act here.
“It was brought to my attention by two constituents. They were very upset about it. Number two, it is a house of worship. Number three, it is being supported by tax dollars,” said Darby.
The controversial proposal boiled over during a council meeting on June 3rd. One man who said he served in a war said, “My concern is, we’re gonna have good African-American officers, would be officers, not want to go to the Citadel because of this flag flying.”
A former Citadel cadet quoted Frederick Douglas and said, “there were free black men, serving in the Confederate Army. Unlike what people say, that it was all about slavery.”
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The Citadel’s Director of Government Affairs, Cardon Crawford spoke. He said the South Carolina Heritage Act, passed in 2000 as part of the compromise to take the Confederate flag off the Statehouse dome, makes it illegal to remove and war monuments or memorials erected on public property in the state.
Crawford said the Citadel believes the Heritage Act would make it against the law to remove the flag. He quoted an article from 1939 when the flag was donated to the Citadel. “General Summerall is quoted in the cadet newspaper saying, ‘in accepting this flag, I am taking it as a tribute to the courage and valor shown by American manhood in fighting for a cause.’”
Councilman Elliott Summey proposed voting to give the money to the Citadel, as long as the state Attorney General issues an opinion that the flag is covered under the Heritage Act. Council then voted and approved that proposal.
According to Attorney General Wilson’s opinion issued Tuesday, June 10th, the confederate flag in the chapel is covered under the Heritage Act which reads in part:
Section 10-1-165. Protection of certain monuments and memorials.
(A) No Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, War Between the States, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Native American War, or African-American History monuments or memorials erected on public property of the State or any of its political subdivisions may be relocated, removed, disturbed or altered. No street, bridge, structure, park, preserve, reserve, or other public area of the State or any of its political subdivisions dedicated in memory of or named for any history figure of historic event may be renamed or dedicated. No person may prevent the public body responsible for the monument or memorial from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection and preservation, and care of these monuments, memorials or nameplates.
With this opinion, it is expected that the Citadel will receive the money.