Confederate Flag Proposal Advances
It has been a little more than six months since the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — It has been a little more than six months since the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds.
The flag has since been placed at the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in Columbia. This week proposals to change the location of the flag to a museum in Charleston are advancing in the legislature.
Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously advanced a proposal requiring an analysis of available museum space and a cost estimate for moving the flag. Committee members also requested a cost estimate for moving the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum’s collections there, if space was available.
The Associated Press reports:
Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, said his proposal is about saving taxpayers money. The state has “mucho, mucho, mucho duplication of effort” in taxpayer-supported museums.
“There’s a chaotic patchwork of museums with no rhyme or reason to cost or place,” he said. “We’re throwing money away now.”
He said he’s OK with moving the Relic Room somewhere other than Charleston, “but it is the birthplace of the War Between the States,” as the war’s first shots were fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.
The vote to remove the rebel flag from the Statehouse’s front lawn followed the shooting deaths of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston. The white man charged with the killings can be seen in photographs with the rebel flag. The measure legislators passed specified the flag would go to the state’s military museum.
In December, its governing board recommended spending more than $3 million to expand its exhibit space, plus $550,000 to display the Confederate flag. The proposed display includes electronic screens scrolling the names of 22,000 South Carolina soldiers killed in the Civil War.
“We’re not funding it,” Limehouse said. “If we have to delay the display of the flag a few years, so be it.”
He and others on his budget subcommittee last month said the museum should be more self-reliant. Its hidden location and a name that suggests it houses only Civil War artifacts explain why it attracted fewer than 25,000 visitors last year, they said.
The museum, which has artifacts from every war South Carolinians fought in, is located in the back of the State Museum building via a separate door.
Limehouse said its collections could be relocated to one spot or split between several museums. Others in Charleston County that should be looked at for space, he said, include Patriots Point home of the USS Yorktown and the museum housing the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley.
On board the Yorktown is the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum. Limehouse is again seeking $1 million in the 2016-17 budget toward a new home for that museum.
Tuesday’s vote put the Relic Room study into the Ways and Means Committee’s budget proposal. Work on that proposal will continue Wednesday.
Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, questioned whether the study itself would waste money.
“Why do we need to study this? Doesn’t it make sense to put it there?” she said.