Mayor Benjamin Says He Wants J. Marion Sims Monument Removed
Righting the wrongs of the past or re-writing history? Columbia mayor Steve Benjamin joins the call to remove confederate statues.
Columbia, S.C. (WOLO)– Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin speaks openly about some civil war statues on the statehouse grounds and whether or not they should stay.
During an interview with MSNBC, Mayor Benjamin says he knows many people in South Carolina, and especially right here in Columbia are divided on this topic.
“I believe there are some statues on our state capitol I find wholly offensive. The most offensive statue I find on our state capital wasn’t a soldier, it’s J. Marion Sims, who’s considered the father of modern gynecology who tortured slave women and children for years as he developed his treatments for gynecology. It should come down at some point,” Benjamin said.
The removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville gained national attention after rallies became deadly. Now, removing civil war monuments is a trend sweeping the country with Kentucky, North Carolina, and Florida following suit. Right here in the Midlands, people have strong opinions on both sides.
“Based on the events, you know, people are losing their lives behind it so… it’s just something that has to happen,” Saidah Dantzler said.
“It’s a part of our history as a country. Actually, the Washington Times did an OpEd today and said that instead of taking down our history, you can add to it the successes of minority people that, if that’s what we want to do. You can add to, but I don’t think we should take away from our history,” John Gilio said.
“We don’t have a monument to Hitler. We don’t have a monument to Mussolini. You know what I mean? We don’t have monuments to losing sides, right? So the message is… it’s kind of weird they’re actually here, you know,” Daria Olson said.
“I know it represents history, you know. People have their own different opinions, I just really… I don’t know if it should come down or not. It doesn’t really bother me so I really don’t know,” Jamie Linkin said, a resident.
There are more than 100 locations publicly supporting the Confederacy.