Crews in Charleston, South Carolina, are in the process of removing a statue of former Vice President and Senator John C. Calhoun, who was an ardent proponent of slavery.
Charleston officials voted unanimously Tuesday to remove the statue, which stands high in downtown’s Marion Square. Crews began the process of dismantling the statue early Wednesday morning but “have run into unexpected delays,” as WCSC reported:
The latest delay, city spokesman Jack O’Toole said, involves a breakdown of equipment being used to cut the statue from its pedestal. Crews brought in diamond saw cutting blades when they encountered a bronze mounting bracket filled with concrete and some type of epoxy-like material that runs the length of the circular platform the statue stands on. The crews were making progress, O’Toole said, until they ran into a problem with the hydraulics in one of the lifts crews are using.
The problem is being repaired onsite so work can proceed, he said. In the meantime, crews have begun removing plaques about Calhoun mounted to the base of the monument.
“We have a sense of unity moving forward for racial conciliation and for unity in this city,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said following the decision. “God bless you all.”
Crews remove John C. Calhoun statue from Charleston’s Marion Square.
Calhoun strongly backed slavery, calling the institution a "positive good" and saying it should spread to western territories.
— BallerAlert (@balleralert) June 24, 2020
— Nick Reagan (@NickReaganLive5) June 24, 2020
#BREAKING: Community activist Tony Lewis said he just heard the hydraulics broke on the equipment they were using to remove the John C. Calhoun statue. Crews now working on the plaques at the base. @Live5News pic.twitter.com/JsiO6m07S6
— Michal Higdon (@MichalHigdon) June 24, 2020
The statue’s removal comes as protesters target monuments across the nation. What began as a widespread demand to remove Confederate monuments has escalated even further, resulting in the destruction of war memorials, statues of the founding fathers, and depictions of past presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.
In Madison, Wisconsin, on Tuesday protesters beheaded the statue of Col. Hans Christian Heg, an immigrant who died fighting for the Union. Photos show the body of the statue submerged in a lake:
Statue of Hans Christian Heg, an anti-slavery activist and American Civil War soldier, was beheaded in Madison, Wis. and thrown in the lake. The Forward statue was also toppled. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/kx0OTbcMyR
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 24, 2020
Protesters have also torn down the Hans Christian Heg statue outside the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/lTwBOUXQST
— Lance Veeser (@lanceveeser) June 24, 2020
— Michelle Alfini (@MichelleAlf) June 24, 2020
They also upended the statue of “Forward” outside of the State Capitol, dragging it into the street:
Lady Forward statute has been removed by protesters at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Statue is now in the middle of the street. pic.twitter.com/aqgbuEsojl
— Dylan Brogan (@telldylan) June 24, 2020