The history of Fort Mill's Confederate Park
On Monday, June 15, a sit-in took place at downtown Fort Mill's Confederate Park to help bring attention to the appeal of the Heritage Act.
The Heritage Act is a law that states that local government officials are not allowed to change the names of parks or monuments dedicated to Civil Rights or the Confederacy without approval by the majority of the members of the state House and Senate.
The same day, a 24-page manifesto titled "It’s Time to Stand Against White Supremacy, Fort Mill" was distributed to the Town of Fort Mill and various news outlets by an anonymous author. The manifesto details the history of racism in Fort Mill and makes four demands to the Town:
The Town of Fort Mill, led by Mayor Guynn Savage, releases a statement on the history of white supremacy in Fort Mill and Fort Mill’s long position of leadership in this racist cause.
The Mayor will lead the appointment of a commission to address this history and how it affects Fort Mill in 2020, including to what extent white supremacy continues to play a role in town governmental functions. This commission should include members of the town government, local law enforcement, representatives to the state government, leaders in the African-American community, leaders in the faith community, and local historians.
The Town of Fort Mill will issue a report identifying every government-sponsored symbol of and monument to white supremacy within town limits. The report will address the potential renaming and/or relabeling with additional historical context each of these symbols, along with the problems raised by the South Carolina Heritage Act.
The elected legislators of Fort Mill — Sen. Greg Gregory and Reps. Bruce Bryant, Raye Felder, and Brandon Newton — will explain why they oppose repealing the Heritage Act and why they have not introduced legislation to end it.
It's important to know and understand the history in your town. Read the full manifesto.