COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A group of artists says it is responsible for hanging black nylon stockings in a tree on a South Carolina university campus near a hall named for a post-Civil War-era racist.
The group called Association for Artists for Change posted a statement on Twitter on Monday asking why the artwork they put up early Sunday is more offensive than the name of Winthrop University’s Tillman Hall. The group said the display was meant to provoke change.
“Pitchfork” Ben Tillman helped lead a mob that killed four blacks in July 1876 as racist whites pushed to regain control of state government during Reconstruction. He served as South Carolina governor from 1890 to 1894.
Eighteen stockings filled with dirt to look abstractly like a human head and body were left hanging on branches and a sign with “Tillman’s Legacy” was taped to a plaque.
The university called the display “hurtful.”