GOVERNMENT-RUN SCHOOL HAS A LOT OF NERVE CHIMING IN ON CONTROVERSIAL BANNER …
|| By FITSNEWS || Clemson University has – belatedly – echoed calls to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the S.C. State House in the aftermath of last month’s horrific, racially motivated church shooting in Charleston, S.C. that left nine black worshippers dead.
“Like the Clemson board of trustees did in December 1999, we called on removal of the flag from the (State House) grounds,” the school’s board of trustees leader David Wilkins said this week. “We support the governor and other leaders in their position. And like the Clemson Board did fifteen years ago, we wanted our position to be known.”
Wilkins is referring to Clemson’s support for a 2000 compromise which moved the flag off of the State House dome to its current location.
We approve of Clemson’s position. Of course that’s hardly surprising seeing as we were the first media outlet in the state to call for the flag to come down in the aftermath of the Charleston tragedy (and the first to advocate a specific legislative method of accomplishing this objective).
It’s just time …
But at the same time Wilkins was (eventually) landing on the right side of this debate, he continued to defend a white supremacist legacy deeply ingrained in the Upstate agrarian school.
Clemson’s most famous building – Tillman Hall – is named after Benjamin Tillman, an outspoken white supremacist and lynch law advocate who was indicted (but never tried) for his role in the 1876 Hamburg Massacre. In that incident, at least six black freedmen were murdered by a racist mob. Three others were shot and seriously wounded.
Clemson’s Institute of Government? It’s named after longtime segregationist U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond. Hell, the ground on which Clemson stands was once the plantation of John C. Calhoun – one of the staunchest antebellum pro-slavery advocates.
“I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good—a positive good,” Calhoun once famously said. “There never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other.”
But “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman is the worst of the lot …
In fact his murderous, racist legacy was so bad – and so widely known – that this website called for the removal of his statue from the grounds of the S.C. State House seven years ago.
Not only was Tillman never prosecuted for the Hamburg Massacre, he referred to it as one of many “stirring events” in rallying support for his 1890 gubernatorial campaign. He won that race, which led to South Carolina’s “Jim Crow” laws and the infamous Constitution of 1895 – a document which continues to hold our state back on so many levels.
Oh, and before anyone gets confused and thinks Clemson’s legacy of racism is a thing of the past … consider this little get-together from last Christmas. Err, Cripmas.
Despite all this, Wilkins is having none of the effort to remove Tillman’s name from Clemson’s iconic landmark.
“We dealt with it several months ago,” he told The Greenville News, adding there were “no plans” to revisit the controversy.
Here’s what’s so bad about that.
Not only is Wilkins’ dead wrong on this issue, but there is absolutely no recourse for those who disagree with him.
How’s that? Well, Wilkins is one of the lifetime appointees to the Clemson board – which continues to run this government-subsidized institution in clear violation of state law banning precisely such lifetime appointments. In other words if you disagree with him or the other lifetime appointees (who comprise a majority of the board), you are S.O.L.
Ben Tillman would be proud …
This website has repeatedly argued that higher education is not a core function of government and that the Palmetto State’s bloated, duplicative and inefficient network of state-subsidized schools should be set free to pursue its destiny in the private sector.
This is yet another reason why …