Monument sought to recognize black Confederates in South Carolina

A man holds a flag on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse on July 10, 2017, in Columbia. The South Carolina Secessionist Party raised a Confederate flag on a temporary pole to mark two years since the day the flag was removed from the front lawn of the state capitol. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Black South Carolina residents who served in the Confederate military would be recognized with a Statehouse monument under a proposal made by two white Republican lawmakers.

State Reps. Bill Chumley and Mike Burns say they want to recognize African-Americans whose courage has been forgotten. They point out that hundreds of black South Carolinians applied for state-provided Confederate pensions of up to $25 annually.

Online state archives show many were slaves who had no choice, pressed into duty by their owners.

They include Walter Curry’s great-great-great grandmother, a cook serving the Confederacy from 1863-1865. The Columbia resident says he was stunned to learn her story, but black Confederates should be honored regardless of why they served.

State Sen. Darrell Jackson says the proposal would “open up wounds,” not bring people together.

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