More than 35,000 people have signed a petition calling for a Confederate memorial to be replaced with a statue of the late actor Chadwick Boseman in his hometown of Anderson, S.C.
The “Black Panther” star died on Friday of stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 43. Boseman had never spoken publicly about his 2016 cancer diagnosis.
The Change.org petition asks for the local legend to be immortalized in stone in front of the city’s courthouse.
“The Confederate Monument belongs in a museum, but has no right to be displayed there,” the petition states. “I believe the community should come together to honor someone from Anderson, South Carolina that was able to change the movie industry.”
Boseman is known for portraying iconic Black characters on the big screen, including baseball hero Jackie Robinson, the first Black Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and the “Godfather of Soul” singer and songwriter James Brown.
He is best known for his role as the "Black Panther," Wakanda King T’Challa. The 2018 film named for the character was one of the highest-grossing superhero films and was the first Marvel movie to feature a majority-Black main cast.
He was honored over the weekend by former President Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama, as well as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
The Confederate statue in Anderson, which depicts a soldier standing atop a platform, was erected in 1903 and reads, “The world shall yet decide, in truth's clear, far-off light, that the soldiers who wore the gray, and died with Lee, were in the right."
The petition calls for the monument to be permanently relocated to the Anderson County Museum.
“Regardless of political party, one must recognize that the morality of the Confederate States was flawed and simply cannot be justified as ‘right’ by today's standards,” the petition states. “Anderson needs to honor a citizen that inspired millions. Anderson needs Chadwick Boseman, may he rest in peace.”
The petition — directed to Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts (D), Gov. Henry McMaster (R) and both chambers of the South Carolina legislature — notes that the monument's removal would be subject to the state’s Heritage Act. The measure prohibits the removal of Confederate monuments unless two-thirds of the state legislature votes to do so.
“The Heritage Act needs to be repealed and it should be up to the citizens of the town to decide whether or not the statues remain,” the petition states. “I hope that the government of South Carolina see that the fate of said statues should be in the people's hands, not just government officials.”
The Confederate statue was vandalized with orange paint earlier this summer amid nationwide protests against racism and police brutality following the police killing of George Floyd.
Roberts condemned the vandalism at the time but told The Anderson Independent-Mail he planned to work with local officials to come to a solution about the monument.
The Hill has reached out to Roberts and McMaster for comment.
The governor on Saturday ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on Sunday to honor Boseman.
To honor the life, contributions and memory of a truly extraordinary son of South Carolina @chadwickboseman - I have ordered the flags atop the Statehouse to be lowered to half-staff tomorrow, Sunday August 30, 2020, from sunrise to sunset. https://t.co/dMEHBIbBe5— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) August 29, 2020