Fort Mill confederate memorial dedicated to slaves is raising questions

FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) - Reminders of the American Civil War remain front and center on Fort Mill's Main Street. One spot in Confederate Park recognizes those who labored for free, and honors people of color that supported the South.

Inscribed on the 19th century monument are the words "Dedicated to the faithful slaves."

Michael Scoggins is the research director at the historical center of York County.

He says the names of those listed were once the human property of the upstate's most powerful families.

"It's recognizing African-Americans who for whatever reasons served in the Confederate Army," Scoggins said."Those were individuals that lived and died here and spent their lives here."

Beyond downtown, African-American's carry a mixed viewpoint.

Purnell Brown, who works at the R and R Barbershop, said it needs to be taken down. "We don't need a reminder of black people in slavery - we already know that," Brown said

Two doors away, Reverend Cedric Maddox of the Refreshing Word Church searches for the balance and seeks the positive. "There so many other contributions African-Americans have made and continue to make," Maddox said.

Wounds remain tender following removal of the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina State House and questions are often raised about a confederate memorial in center city Charlotte at Elmwood Cemetery.

In Fort Mill, recognizing those who were regarded as property crosses the busy intersection of southern heritage and american hardship.

Michael Scoggins sees a different subplot. "They put it here for a reason. They wanted to show that yes the civil wasn't just a white mans war. There were blacks involved," Scoggins said.

WBTV started looking into this after an email was sent from a viewer. WBTV checked with town officials in Fort Mill and they said they're aware of the memorial, but so far had no complaints.

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