Columbia Mayor Says Statue of 'Butcher' Should be Removed

Sen. Todd Rutherford plans to introduce a bill to make it easier to remove statues from the State House. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin wants the J. Marion Sims monument to come down.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin wants lawmakers to take down the State House monument honoring J. Marion Sims.

"I've called him a lot of different things, but I think a butcher is accurate," Benjamin said. "I believe that most people when they read the story will find it chilling."

The monument was erected in 1929, 46 years after Sims' death, and credits him for "founding the science of gynecology" but he also performed multiple operations on female slaves.

"He tortured slave women and children in the advancements of his experiments, and I don't believe he deserves recognition here," Benjamin said.

There are 31 monuments and markers on the State House grounds and some of them are offensive to visitors.

"There's actually two Confederate monuments," Heyward Stuckey said.

Stuckey is a tour guide at the State House.

"The Monument to the Confederate soldiers who died in the war was erected in 1879 by the women of South Carolina and in response in 1909, 1911 this monument to the women of the Confederacy was erected by the men of South Carolina," Stuckey said.

Benjamin said those monuments don't upset him as much as the one honoring Sims. It's something that has bothered him for years.

"I'm offended by Ben Tillman. I'm offended by the Confederate soldiers monument. I recognize the place that Wade Hampton has in the history of this state. This statue of Sims offends me every day I think about it," said Benjamin.

In order for any monument to be removed from the State House grounds, two thirds of the legislature would need to vote in favor of the removal.
 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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