“Take Tillman Down” is a chant by protestors heard just in the last year at the South Carolina State House in Columbia.
The group was protesting against the statue of Benjamin Ryan Tillman that stands on the State House grounds in Columbia.
On the Take Tillman Down website, group organizers say “the statue was erected in 1940. This was a time when the Civil Rights movement was gaining momentum in the south. There can be no doubt that this statute was placed in front of the Capitol building to send a clear message to people of color: ‘this isn’t your statehouse.’”
Tillman, both a US Senator and SC Governor, supported the Edgefield Plan that used secret extralegal military coups that would use violence, intimidation and fraud to keep African Americans in South Carolina away from the ballot box.
Tillman was also a Red Shirt in the Sweetwater Saber Club, which harassed and assaulted black voters and murdered African-American politicians. He supported lynching, having defended it on the floor of the US Senate.
“We of the South have never recognized the right of the Negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him,” he declared.
The Heritage Act, passed in SC on May 23, 2000 forbids the removal of historical statues. We need to #RiseUp! and support “The Take Tilman Down” movement.