Thousands are signing onto a petition pushing for a Confederate statue in Anderson, South Carolina, to be replaced by a memorial for actor Chadwick Boseman, who was born there.
The petition, which was posted online over the weekend, has racked up more than 7,600 signatures in the past two days.
“Mr. Boseman is without question an American treasure and his accolades go on and on. It is only fitting that his work is honored in the same place that birthed him,” the petition states, adding: “As fellow citizens go about their day they should have a face that sees all people as equal. That sees all citizens regardless of outward appearance as a member of the Anderson community.”
Another petition calling for the Confederate monument in the town to be moved to the Anderson County Museum and replaced with a statue of the “Black Panther” actor, who died Friday at the age of 43 after fighting colon cancer, has attracted over 1,500 supporters.
According to local media, the call is targeting a Confederate monument that was erected in the town in 1902.
The statue, which depicts a soldier standing atop a platform, sits in front of courthouse and reads the words, “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,” according to a state website.
The statue was the subject of controversy back in June amid nationwide efforts to remove Confederate symbols as protests against racism and police brutality broke out across the nation following the death of George Floyd, The Greenville News reported then.
Local media also reported in late June that the statue was vandalized.
At the time, Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts (D) condemned the vandalism but told The Anderson Independent-Mail he planned to work with local officials to come to a solution about the monument.
Roberts also noted in his comments to the outlet then that the monument could likely be subjected to the state’s Heritage Act.
The measure reportedly prohibits the removal of Confederate monuments unless two-thirds of the state legislature votes to do so.
Chadwick Boseman’s high school basketball coach at T.L. Hanna, Wayne Jones, reflected on the years he spent with him and said his smile was contagious, one for the big screen.
“When you saw him, he could light up a room. It was a Hollywood smile,” Jones said.
Jones said the news of Boseman’s death was shocking.
He said he lived his life with humility.
So much so, Jones didn’t even know his former player was starring in movies until he saw it for himself.
“I had my back to the TV and I heard this voice, and I turned around and I said wait a minute that’s Chad Boseman,” Jones said.
He explained that instantly, he knew Boseman cared deeply for the people he loved.
He remembered a time Boseman wrote a play for a friend who was shot and killed.
“He didn’t just forget you,” Jones said. “Especially in times of tragic situations. For him to try to write something that would accentuate someone else’s life is more what he was all about.”
Boseman left behind family who still live in Anderson, including his parents.
Jones said he would tell his parents one thing; they should be proud.
“You did a good job. His parents did an excellent job in raising Chad, and he was quite a reflection of the way he was brought up,” Jones said.