tv Public Officials Discuss Charleston South Carolina History CSPAN August 13, 2022 5:00pm-6:21pm EDT
nuanced. >> please join me in thanking our panelists. [applause] >> here we learn about people being dragged along and don't really want to get all the way there and everyone has their own individual narrative in their own space telling -- tell it. as we mentioned earlier, our surveys reflect that things don't -- people don't like how the surveys are being handled.
our next panelists are people who have to address that and find a new way to do it. they took in leadership to move things along. i am interested to hear about the next panel. we have people from different levels of state government. we have senator kim said -- kimson who is a former alone. speaking of good friends, ross patel is a city councilman who can discuss how charleston has been tackling issues and along with that come up from a different seat, we will have the mayor john -- discussing and we have our good friend and yours in new york city counseling, reveling/-- and new york city
counselor, reveling -- and your city counselor, reverend -- in columbia, has been universally marked -- admired. dr. harris -- can you join us? i look forward to panel number two. one other thing i wanted to mention, let's get a round of applause to mayor -- to the man who is here on this 33rd wedding anniversary sharing it with us. [applause] >> welcome.
we had a good time listening to historians talk about looking at the past and bringing us right to about now but this group is comprised of people with responsibility and obligation to you and to us. we need to move forward and we will talk about how we do that. who decides what happens? is it a consensus or both --v ote? what is the heritage act? this will be exciting and no one will be off the hook. we will try to come to a concessions about how charleston, the city, the county, the low country and maybe america can move forward but i will harking back to the first panel. i heard two panelists someone --
somewhat ambivalent about removing statues or renaming billings and if i remember, they sat on one hand, it is like a racing memories -- erasing memories and the other individuals that you lose an opportunity to educate and to learn. you could put a statue -- in the museum and people could go to the museum to contextualize but you will not be walking by it every day. let's start with that. we will talk about moving forward in public policy but quick speed around, asked whether you believe whether the removal of statues or renaming billings for people who are odious -- buildings for people who are odious in
>> start with me? >> i can talk on this topic for the rest of the evening. just with the experiences with the calhoun statue, a couple of years ago. let me just share, my belief, and i think our councils belief is that the path forward is to tell more of the history, no problem -- the case of mr. calhoun's statue. uniquely, we tried as a counsel, --council, about verbiage or text that we would've added close to the base of the statue
because you couldn't actually put it on the statue depending on your interpretation of the heritage act. that couldn't pass. we couldn't agree as a city council about a story that would contend actual eyes mr. calhoun. -- contextualize mr. calhoun. when you are on a pedestal, that is a place of honor. in that particular statue was on the highest pedestal in the city of charlston. we were not telling that whole story, we couldn't agree. i think the story needs to be told in the right place, a museum. to have mr. calhoun on the highest pedestal in our city, in the fact the highest place of honor itself was inappropriate.
and counsel agreed with that for a couple of years -- and council agreed with that for a couple of years. if you will allow, i'm not a historian, i was a chemistry major, but it occurred to me after reading blaine's book and grooving -- giving tours of the mother manual -- mother emanual memorial. how out of place the statue was. we should tell that story. but think of this, in 1850, 18 51, when mr. calhoun died. 75 percent of white charlestonian's were slave owners. 75%. this is a time in our history
where the conversation between abolition and slaveholding was coming to its highest pitch. here comes a guy, mr. calhoun, who provided a juicy rationalization, the philosophical underpinning about owning slaves. it was so prevalent in the culture. he became so venerated by those white charles soon means -- white charlestonian's and those that were slave owners. this led to a veneration of him. i could talk all night long about mr. calhoun. here's the bottom line, for me, our founding fathers based our declaration of independence on the premise that all men are created equal.
mr. calhoun, ultimately, didn't believe that. thank you. >> reverend middleton,, counci lman, what do you think? do you lose something with that? >> i believe the relics should be removed. the symbols are a boring -- abhooree --abhorrent to the psyche. i am in need of charlestonian, -- i am a native charlestonian, and we knew in those days that the statue of calhoun was a line of demarcation for black people.
there was an economic, and socioeconomic distinction. there was an imperative that certain people stayed on one side and people who were more affluent where permitted to pass onto that side. the calhoun statue or monument provided over that philosophy, worldview, mentality and mindset at the time. as a young boy, particularly as a boy at courtney's school, i had a paper route. as a young person trying to raise money, i would have to get my newspapers at colonial lake. i would have to walk through marion square under the canopy of this calhoun statue. i was always reminded that certain parts of charleston were not afforded to me.
it caused me to be more resilient and determined to chase that dream. can you imagine other young people like myself growing up during times where it was not necessarily the spoken narrative, but it became the symbolic thing in your face, that reminded you of these systems of oppression. these systems that were set in stone almost -- proverbially, to keep people in a certain place as it relates to our social structure. when you look at those statues in context, without a proper telling of those stories, even a counter narrative, there were no counter narratives being given to young people like myself. we just heard, our parents, they said don't go beyond that.
we heard that in our homes, that was what was passed down to them, that was a philosophy that was created into a subculture of oppression. the other family -- the other panel talked about the flag. it feels as though we marched in the 90's for these sorts of things. they continue to create, for a civil society, unbalance. taking them down, in my opinion, and placing them in places where individuals can go and learn from them instead of being confronted by them in an unbalanced narrative.
it can impede their psychological ability to hope more for themselves unless they have a counter to that narrative. they should be placed in the appropriate places where individuals can be taught to have a view of those relics in the context that they actually existed. >> thank you for the question, it is interesting, the views on this in the general assembly. we have a number of modern-day confederate soldiers who espoused support for the relics and monuments. during the debate, i read from tooth -- from two people who i believed would be persuasive on the subject.
this is what general wade hampton, a confederate soldier from south carolina said about the confederate flag other war monument. he gave a speech in 1875 and it was called duty of the present. it was given to soldiers. though it will never end, brave the battle -- as long as one battle scarred fold clings to another, it will tell you in language more eloquent than words of the perishable renown that you won for it and for yourself. it will speak constantly to your hearts of our dead comrades, and remind you that when you for the flag forever, you pledge your
solidarity to serve the terms in which you surrendered. then you have general robbie your -- general robert ely, who said -- general robert e lee, who said essentially the same thing. let leaves -- lee's orders of surrender furled the flag. we have conservative generals who actually fought, unlike the modern day representatives in the state legislator who have simply witnessed this moment through history and their own version of being educated. the people who put their lives in harm's way for their own
beliefs, they believed it was a good idea. they recognize that the war was fought and lost. in order to move forward we must leave those things in the past. let me say this, we have spent far too much time on this in the general assembly. south carolina need -- leads the nation, arguably the worst in the nation when it comes to the quality of life of its citizens. in education, and health care, and livable wage. the number of hours that we spend debating these subjects is a shame. i would much rather spend my attention in 2022 about addressing the matters as specifically as it relates to
african-americans to economic empowerment. something that you will hear me talk more about tonight. >> we have a residence hall named wade hampton. we have another one named sims after marion sims. you can understand what we are speaking about, 20 buildings on campus have been recommended to remaining -- renaming. i will tell you a little bit later what we are doing about that. but, city councilman, give us your opening here. >> thank you. it is an honor and a privilege to be here this evening. for those of you who do not know me, i am a fourth generation charlestonian and i am honored to do -- to represent district
11. i still number the time that the mayor called mia, -- called me up shortly after the terrible incident with george floyd. what he said to me was simple, it's time to bring the calhoun statue down. he said, what you think? i think i am remembering the events correctly i said, it's time, let's do it. i'll give it a different perspective on the calhoun statue and i believe my colleagues have covered some good ground. i am jewish, and right underneath mr. calhoun was a holocaust memorial. think about the mixed messages that the city of charleston was sending furry years, all of my
life here in charlston. here we will absolve mr. calhoun to the highest position in the city, and then we are going to honor the tragedy of the holocaust, where 6 million jews and other minorities and dissidents and other folks were killed, just because of who they were. it is not too much of a intellectual leap to get from jhansi calhoun and some of his principles and philosophies -- john c calhoun and some of his principles and philosophies, and his terrors asian, and ultimately -- terrorization, by removing the statue we have brought balance to marion square. by that same token, i represent a 95% white district in the city of charleston. i hope we get to talk about
zoning and land use and other boring but important stuff that the city of charleston deals with. i would like to talk about why there is 95% white people living in a district in the city of charleston. suffice to say there are folks in my constituency who were serious about the decision about to take the calhoun statue down. there were some who wanted to see it melted and thrown off the bridge, turned into a brief for fish offshore in the atlantic ocean, discarded. it was important to me, and we have heard from dr. matthews and some of the historians earlier this evening, perhaps that is not the appropriate path to take. with symbols such as this.
i've always more been more of the school of thought that mr. calhoun doesn't belong 100 or so feet in the air above some of the church steeples in the city of charlston. he doesn't belong in the garbage can either. for better or worse he is part of the american and south carolina story. he is the former vice president. my perspective has always been, certainly remove him -- i am 100% behind that decision, but we need to find a place where the story can be told in a respectful manner. i believe that is what we will do. i got death threats after the calhoun statue was removed. some of my colleagues on city council had their businesses boycotted. i am not here to complain or cry , while, is me.
people have had it much worse than i have had it in my relatively privileged life. it got real in the summer of 2020 around the city of charleston. i need to be honest, this is truth i'm going to tell, i think that's what we are encouraged to do this evening. i bought a gun after i got death threats and people were posting my address on social media, rallies and moms and i was on youtube videos and all this craziness. there is not a person in my family who has ever owned a gun. it goes to show you, what we do in this position, can sometimes have serious real-world implications. i think my mike has about had it. we have all had a unique
experience over the past two and a half years or so, but i am convinced that the city of charleston has navigated, certainly, the calhoun issue properly. there are other issues and by ringing in diverse perspectives and having respectful open dialogue and discussion we can chart the best course for community moving forward. that's the most important thing. thank you, everybody. >> we have heard the word balance so many times, we cannot remove names, or rename buildings. we can bring balance by erecting new statues. or a naming buildings from the past.
there is evidence that harvard didn't know he was black when they admitted him, but nevertheless, following the civil war, he had his harvard diploma, south carolina college was the only southern university to reopen admitting formally -- formerly enslaved black people. it was of course then closed and reopened as a segregated university for men. we did erect a statue to richard t greener. i asked what is the most walked upon place on the university campus, and i was told between the student union and the library. thomas cooper is another name we need to deal with. there is an imposing statue that i often see students and
teachers reading the marker. we have other markers on campus, it doesn't assuage our community though. the students don't believe that that is the kind of university or balance that they are seeking. let's go back for a moment, and i don't -- and i know you don't want, -- i know you don't want to talk about it anymore, senator, but the heritage act. by the way, strom thurmond is the biggest flashpoint on our campus. he is on the state grounds as well where you work every day. we need to keep telling our students and faculties and visitors and visitors -- that that is the way it has to be?
>> i think what you saw from the south carolina supreme court is that the pertinent part of the super majority promotion -- provision in the heritage act was ruled under constitutional -- unconstitutional. what you are seeing now and i know of for examples, our colleges and universities, for example, clemson university, has asked to take the name of pitchfork tillman off of one of its buildings. you mentioned university of south carolina, marian sims, he was a gynecologist to experience -- who experimented on african-american women without the use of anesthesia. and a number of local governments are also petitioning the legislator -- petitioning
the legislature. and we know that although we haven't been able to vote on the removal of any of these relics, largely, because we are dominated in the general assembly by one party. the republican party has controlled the state legislature for over 20 years, they are simply tone deaf to this conversation. when a legislature does file a deal to accommodate the request of a public university or any other municipality, it stalls in committee. there are two examples of that. i think the path is, for us to now to get a majority, south carolina state constitution allows the general assembly to pass by majority. the heritage act was accepted by
that. and now we have a path, and that path, many have requested for us to use it. we will see if -- whether or not we can get past and get a majority. it is going to be difficult to do, in the senate we lost three seats in the 2000 election. the senate is 30 republicans to 16 democrats in the house, there are -- it is going to be politically difficult to navigate and carry out the request. let me say this briefly about the heritage act. many have complained about the heritage act. i understand that the compromise was to have the confederate battle flag in front of the statehouse, along an a
confederate soldier monument that was already there. but the reality in the year 2000 is that you had for -- for confederate flags flying in the statehouse. one in the house, one in the senate, and one above the statehouse dome and one in the lobby. when the compromise was brokered to remove 441 -- 4 for 1, many felt it was a compromise that they could live with i wasn't elected until 2013, my first year was 2014. unfortunately, that had already been done. now, in the aftermath of the tragedy that happened here at mother emanuel, or across the
street at mother emanuel, we were able to move the one last flag that was in front of the statehouse. that's gone. that's progress. that is real progress that i want to give the audience of some semblance of how many flags there were. i talked to the members who used to have to go into that chamber, much as councilman middleton has stated, the feeling of shame and embarrassment that many african-american members had to face every day as they pledged allegiance to the flag, and the confederate was in front of the chamber. the other thing that was brokered in the heritage act that many people don't know, the full funding of an african-american monument which you see on the statehouse grounds.
it was not only built but funded by the budget. also, there was a commitment made during that time to explore this idea of international african-american museum. the heritage act, in hindsight, many people questioned the wisdom of why would the general assembly allow one flag, the confederate flag, to fly in front of the statehouse, but instead they got full funding of the statue on the grounds and a commitment to the african-american museum. >> mayor, the history commission in charlston, there were more than 100 recommendations, not all of them have been provocation, are they dead? where do we go from here? >> they are not dead, the
special commission made recommendations but they were not accepted by city council. we have formed, we call it, the heart. human affairs ration -- human affairs racial committed -- human affairs racial reconciliation commission. may i respond to the heritage act question as well? i would say, personally, that it is a shame that we even had a heritage act as the senator mentioned, it was just to create a compromise regarding the confederate flag. the thing was, the flag was put on top of the statehouse in 1961, it was recommended by a charlston legislator, to simply commemorate the 100 and 50th anniversary -- the 150th
anniversary of the start of the civil war. it was supposed to come down after a commemorative purpose. and then how much hours of the date and angst have we had ever sense? the other thing i want to share about the act, the legislator also passed in 19 74 a home rule act. which is supposed to honor the wishes of local government. i am fine, senator, if you want to have an act that specifies what ought to go on state property. but we believe in the city of charlston, and i'm sure that the county of charlston feels the same way, we've grown enough that we can make our own decisions about such things, but we would like to have in our community. thirdly, i do want to point out with the city of charlston, we follow state law.
we checked with the attorney general before the removal of the calhoun statue, and it was not subject to the heritage act. mr. calhoun was was not a war and he was not a war figure. so it simply did not apply. when the moment was right, and the city council of charlston unanimously agreed to do what we did, and we were speaking as elected officials for the will of our city at that time, i believe, the right thing is to let local government closest to the people make those kinds of decisions. thank you. ncaa, when we voted there, never to vote -- never to hold postseason competition in these state while the confederate flag still flying. i came back somewhat smug, going back to the general assembly saying i got this. they are going to take it down
now because it's all about football. but that was not so whatsoever. stubborn. reverend middleton, where do we go from here, how does the community make decisions when there is no unanimity of course. is it townhall? is it a simple vote? is it like every other political decision in the world or our moral issues different in how they are adjudicated? >> i think there has to be an -- there has to be a moral imperative and i don't believe that elected officials can solve everything. i believe that grassroots, the community and people need to rise up and demand certain things. i think i heard somebody say, or maybe you set it just a minute ago, there isn't that communal societal imperative that sort of creates that moment for these things to happen.
there are some things that get our attention, particularly, many at an inflection point brought on by crisis, we experience what we experience here in charlston with the mother emanuel massacre. many of us lost loved ones in on that a secure -- in that massacre. you all debated -- i guess not, but it created the empathy -- it didn't happen easily. here in charlston when we were dealing with the issue of slavery and crafting a apology to the nun see a, and apologize as a city. the city itself learned through that education process how the city council, city government, they had things that individuals, if they were too
tired to beat there's enslaved people, they would ask the city to handle that. we know that people are engaged in different things, but the community itself has to send a message to those who are sitting in these seats, representing them, that there are certain things that are priorities for the community. that includes justice. that includes issues of reconciliation. in order for the -- they are to be reconciliation, desmond tutu says that there has to be a proper confrontation. sometimes when we bring these issues up, individuals are outside agitators. it requires that level of agitation for that issue to rise to the level of importance that individuals start paying up
attention. we need people paying attention. not that they are not necessarily concerned, but when you look at those issues that literally hit you at your front door, to include issues of racial stress and racial into -- rush -- racial stress and racial injustice. we as a society need to call those things out. particularly when you look at school systems, and de facto segregation, when you look from the state perspective, equitable funding formulas, there are so many specific things that should be addressed in order for us to move forward in a productive, peaceful, and very collaborative way that enables the empowerment economically, socially, and just literally. the human spirit of every individual that lives. when we look at the nature of how we do this, it requires
these forms. the charlston form is -- it requires these forums. the charlston form is very important. there are issues when these, that grind the cares of individuals but we need these moral issues as well to take pre-eminent precedents. we would have over soup suppers where we had dialogues where individuals would sit down at tables and really talk about those hard issues, particularly relating to policing and other issues in our society
particularly relating to policing and other issues in our society. >> why does it always seemed to take tragedy? >> i think that tragedies have a way of waking people up. you cannot turn away from what happened in charlston a few blocks from here, all these years ago. that was the tragedy that led to the final flag coming down. it is a shame that that had to happen. it is a shame that we have to restart these discussions after tragedies, and we just had a tragedy in texas, and another mass shooting, racially oriented mass shooting in buffalo. these traumatic, spectacular, horrific tragedies are what get blasted to the media, they
dominate the news cycle, it whips up a lot of emotion, discussion, and debate. it is a shame that that is what it takes. it is a product of something that reverend it'll tenant just mentioned a minute ago, people in our communities are extremely busy, and they are extremely burdened with kids and work in school. in this day and age of social media and limited attention spans, -- forget 24 hour news cycles, it is 24 second news cycles. it is very hard to initiate and sustain the type of complicated discussions and debates that are necessary to move the needle forward. there has been tremendous progress in this country about racial issues. what took place in the 1960's is truly unbelievable, and truly
revolutionary. there is no question, the vestiges of racism are still with us in society. but not every one of those vestiges are a statue that is hovering 100 feet over the ground. we have racism ached into complicated places. for example -- we have racism baked into complicated places. for example, our zoning issues. before everyone goes to sleep when i talk about this issue, it's boring, dry, technical, and by the way it is extremely important and one of the issues that the city of charlston has the most control over. it is an area of home rule that really exists. we don't have it with statues or finance. but we have it with land use. did you know that zoning has its origins in over explicit racism?
this is an educated group. . i think that it does not -- it's not representative of the folks that isolate week two -- representative of the folks that i speak to. after reconstruction, i have a brief summary on this to illustrate the insidious is of some of the racism in our country. after reconstruction, african-americans moved west and north. the first attempts to keep african-americans and whites to stay apart, was to designate white districts of the city, and blacked -- and black district of the city. we had the 14th and the 15th
amendments, you couldn't do that, that was on the nose. so clever folks at the time found a way to get the same result. we would sound by different types of housing. single-family housing over there. multifamily housing over by the steel mode -- steel mill, railroad tracks in disadvantage part of the community. in the city of euclid versus amber real save case in a supreme court decision upheld the lawful use of police power. zoning is not on the 10 commandments, not a lot of nature, something we came up with in this country. the supreme court recognized it in that it referred to apartment dwellers as parasites. that is the history of our
zoning and ran -- land use history. it produces the 95% white district that i represent. the neighborhood was built in the 1940's where the only way you could get financing to develop a neighborhood was to have guaranteed loans and backing. federal regulations required strict standards that you could not sell to african-americans. these are the legacies -- the legacy of those decisions, you don't need to go back to 1619 or the civil war. you can go back to the eisenhower administration. this wasn't long ago. a lot of this persists. when i hear the term critical
race theory, let's critically examine our land use policies, zoning policies, to make sure that we are not creating a situation where we are incentivizing and encouraging gentrification. should it cost 30,000, 40,000 dollars for people to change their windows on the west side in the city of charlston with our architectural review guidelines? these are not necessarily evil intended regulations, but they can have negative impacts on communities that we care about. as we move forward in the city of charlston, and we look toward the recommendations and reports that the race and equity commission is providing, we have the tools and ability to make meaningful change on the ground. as you get people excited, but this stuff on a poster in march about it. probably not. it is too boring to get people out. we are talking about technical
stuff. but this is where the game is, right now, in my opinion. on some of these very complex policy oriented issues, it is not fun or sexy, but that is the way that we need to go to make meaningful progress on the ground and it's going to take that sustained commitment that reverend middleton just talked about and support from the community. because it will really be a challenge. it is going to be changing the status quo and often that is not very important when you need to get it done. >> and no meeting in charlston to avoid zoning. i knew it would come up one way or another. i am delighted to see young people here. we need to start with young people. and marilyn, i will ask you, do we do enough in charlston to educate young people about the problems that we have here and everywhere, problems of race, of
disparities, and is there more -- whether with the tourist community, or our own people, how do we prevent the tragedies of the future? how do we raise the awareness of people by starting out? >> on the tourism front i would say we are doing better, but as a general rule, i would answer your question, no. we are not doing enough. some of the things that i have even found out over the last few years, serving as mayor about the history of our city and state. i never read in the south carolina history books when i was your age. they didn't put history stories there. that is why, i generally believe we need to do a better job of telling the whole story. that is why it is important to support things like the
international african-american museum. and then, pardon me senator, you go up columbia and you tell us what not to teach in the state legislator. like you want to put a lid on it, not you personally, but the edges later. that seems contrary to what i believe we need to do, that's tell more of the same story. and do more history that tells a more complete story of -- i want to give little examples. but someone mentioned in the audience that i spoke with right before i started, air, it wasn't so much the calhoun statue, but i never saw any statues that look like me. i was so pleased to have a gift a few months ago of a statue of a young girl, it's down now.
we just installed it at the waterfront part. a young, african-american girl, and she was only six years at the time. her sculpture is one of pure joy, hope for the future, and it's right near the fountain, and close to where, as you placed your statue, where so many people come to wonder front part -- waterfront part. putting that public park out, and by the way she is a junior at the sentinel, and is going to graduate in one year. and she is going to assume a medical profession. another example, -- 10:00 in the morning next to the old city jail, which is the location next to where the workhouse used to be. based upon that story, we uncovered, which was part of our apology for slavery. and important part of that as --
shared a moment again -- ago, we approved a history storyboard that tells the story of workhouse in charlston and where it was located. it is going to be right on the house -- the sight of where the work site was located. it looks very similar to the old year there. we do need to continue to add to the story, it's not so much about taking away. again, i feel the calhoun statue was very particular case and i tried to describe earlier. we need to add to the story, tell more of the his tree. you all need to know where we caved in from in this state and this is how you shape where you are going to go in the future. you need to know where you came from in order to know where you are going. >> we just opened in anne frank center on campus and we are
finding it is a difficult time -- topic to bring school children, but we are opening up around the state and we are finding that age 10 is not too young to learn the lessons of the past. you do surveys of young people around the country, even jewish young people, the majority can't define the holocaust. and racial issues, that's why taking things away, in many cases is a good things. -- is a good thing. but don't take memory or history away. other thoughts? >> i'll take this -- partially, as an educator spending the last six months as the int sybil. it is my joy to engage young people in a way that doesn't minimize their ability to understand specifically how to
react with one another. racism is a learned behavior. it is not something that someone is on what. the purgation -- separation, segregation, those are constructed they are not born or an eight. -- innate. i watch them hang out and they are extremely open to interacting with people who are not like themselves and celebrating that and really embracing that diversity and then somewhere along the way something happens to that. i think, as we look at the nature of how we capitalize on the very open nature of our young people, we need to define
opportunities. mayor, i remember speaking at your council on youth, children, and families, there are so many engaging ways to bring young people together, to engage them in sessions and forums where they can interact with other people around the district or areas. and those that are from a more rule context so that they -- or more rural context so that they could understand the plight that others air experiencing. and connectivity, specifically connectivity issues is a challenge for the superhighway of the future. when you look at churches, houses of worship in the faith community, all of us have young people in young people's departments, to include -- or interface so that we can start to engage with our young people so that by the summer months we are working on vacation bible
school. we started partnering with churches that are -- saint stephens, episcopal church, churches that are not black. in sharing those types of bible school experiences so that those young people can have the experience that they never would've had if we did not intentionally design that and bring that together. right now, we have a racial justice is super munch. they are in atlanta and alabama right now. and young people, we set on that trip, as well to share together, learn together and grow together as well is to bring back an experience that will transform. i think that the hope in the future lies within our young people. and we need to give them that grown-up, anne frank, in her diaries, with they were in the
annex out in that space. they needed to grapple with real issues. she chronicled those. in a way that we still read today. young people have the capacity, they have the ability, and when we bring them together, if we engage and enable them to bring that to life, we will find that they will shape the future in ways that we can't imagine. >> senator? >> yes. i think the best way we can create more productive young people, twofold. number one. they need to know history. we are, just able to secure $4 million for mother emanuel foundation.
they will be opening a foundation to teach social justice and commemorate the lives of the deceased 98 survivors. we were able to use the budget, approximately two or three -- it may have been a little longer than that, to secure funding for the african-american newseum out of the state budget to the tune of 15-20,000,000 dollars. that didn't happen. we worked in the aftermath of tragedies and used it as an opportunity to leverage economics. going forward, what i intend to do and what i have been doing is that each of us is part of an echo system with our respective budget. i don't know with the city of
charleston's budget is but i suspect it's in excess of a billion. >> include -- 200 million? including pop up funds? what is the county withdrawal rate? 700 million. state funding is about $9 billion or more. all of us have diversity initiatives within those budgets. there are state goals, city goals, and county goals. i have looked at the p and l's from any governmental institutions, and sure but goals are not really being met -- sure met goals are not being met. we need to focus on economic tools in our community. if you try to drive down the
street, you will see very few african-american owned businesses. that used to not be the case. we have to make sure that we look at our respective budgets, and if there is a goal not being met, we need to meet those goals. here is what you will find when you pull out the mbe, minority business enterprise number. you will find that contracts are being awarded to white women. and often the case, you have white men contractors who are using their wives to take advantage of a resource that should otherwise go to a minority group. at the lowest category of every metric in every port that i have looked at, african-american
entrepreneurs and business people are at the bottom. in order to change, and galvanize, and galvanize -- and educate our young people into productive citizens, we will need to change the economic paradigm. people who have had a history of being disenfranchised, we are not giving them those opportunities. and i will call the mayor, he is going to create a business incubator, which i applaud. as we did with the tech corridor, charlston is really on the map with a number of tech businesses that have located to charlston. but we subsidize many of those businesses to come here. and so we gave them subsidized rent downtown, which is very
high. a lot of businesses can't afford to open downtown. until a certain. of time, they were able to get on their feet, and many of them were able to open up offices on -- street in this new tech corridor. in my view, we should be doing that with african-american business. we should set up a corridor where we subsidize, and i think you are going to do this, i want to help you. part of my initiative in this budget, is to request several million dollars to help the mayor with this addition. but it is my responsibility when we talk about children, and we talk about where we go in the aftermath of the shooting, it is an economic solution. i appreciate the history lesson on the flags, but we have spent far too much time on those issues, and we haven't really addressed the problem that
plagues our community, a desert of economic activity. we have a number of people who are so creative,, and studies on gun violence can tell you this, they are aimlessly wandering the streets and collecting guns. let's give them entrepreneurial talents, and foster entrepreneurship through government incentives. that's my opinion. >> there's a beautiful book by isabella -- called cast, it is an eye-opening book. it is governmental policies that were designed to keep black people down. they are baked in, we need to get to the roots.
no g.i. bill for returning lack soldiers, no -- no g.i. bill for returning black soldiers, the stories of matthew peary who came back from the war and saw italian prisoners of war in better taken care of in a dining room that he was not allowed to eat at as an american war hero. all of these new things are great, but we need to look at the reasons why things are the way they are. and keep moving forward. other thoughts? >> we will see how long this stays on. it's good to have microphones that shut off automatically when you have politicians speaking. it helps to keep us to a minimum. and i applaud the senator's comments about black entrepreneurship and black
businesses. but we also need african-americans to stay in the city of charleston. if you look at the census data from 2020 and 22010 -- 2010, and 2000, the numbers are deteriorating rapidly. you're going to see this coming up soon in our city council redistricting process. the county has their act together. they figured it out a month ago, but we haven't gone public with our maps yet. the maps are responsive to demographics population change. we are have a train -- we are hemorrhaging the african-american population, particularly in the island where i am. we are talking about zoning for the for -- second time around, don't go to sleep. we need to find more affordable housing in the city of charleston.
. -- full stop. it is one of the most defining challenges of our time. if we don't get this right we will not have the next generation of african-american children to harness to incubate to become entrepreneurs invested in the city of charleston. how do we do that? the city of charleston is doing tremendous work right now with our community development partnership. we have done a tremendous job using limited resources and putting thousands of units of affordable housing on the market. we recently finished our cities comprehensive plan. we are not going to meet our 10 year goal on the path that we
are on right now. the government can only do so much to subsidize our way out of the problem. fundamentally, it's a market problem. it is too expensive to build housing, and there is a lot of reasons for that. our zoning ordinances limit how much you can build. it makes a complicated to get tell developments -- to get veltman's going. we have to look at those rules because at the end of the day, prices indicated by supply and demand. even my brain can see that concept. many people want to live in the city of charleston, we have a supply problem. we need to get public funded incentivized problem -- public funded incentivized programs, let's do it. until we can make it so that affordable housing can make money to developers, we are not going to achieve those goals. i'm not talking about cutting
down the francis marion forrest, i am talking about finding ways to build where we already have infrastructure and roads and water and sewer. let's build in the peninsula. would you believe in the 1930's there were close to 80,000 people who lived in the peninsula in the city of charleston? the number is around 30 right now. that is crazy, in my book. there should be over 100,000 people living on the peninsula in the city of charlston. rich, poor, white, black, everything in between. that is how you have an interesting and dynamic community were teachers, firefighters, and police officers can live in the city in which they work. this is the challenge of our time, it is a race issue, it is an equity issue. it goes far beyond that.
these are the kind of issues where, you can take the time and talk to people about this and you beat that first instinct to doze off. i don't see anyone sleeping, you will pass the test. you will find people can reach common ground on a position. there is a way to appeal to conservative people, republicans, on this issue. you're talking about deregulate, we are talking about the private sector. you can appeal to the more liberal and progressive votes as well. because the end result is socially positive. these are the ways we can build bridges in the future. by connecting, not on exclamatory freezes and buzzwords and things that shut down conversations, but -- exclamatory phrases and buzzwords, but to speak about things that we can do. i wish we could pass an
ordinance to outlaw racism, we would do it tomorrow, but we don't have the power. we can tweak our regulations and do it in a balanced ways that it doesn't impact disadvantaged communities and things like that. people in government are interested in making that kind of change, and certainly the people that we should be electing and leading the way here. let's keep a dynamic and diverse population, let's give them the tools that they need and let's make a better future for the city of charlston and the rest of the state. >> these are all very entwined issues. these are complicated issues or they would have been solved -- any questions from here before we return to one last comment from margaret >> that evening. -- good evening.
[indiscernible] an art project on gentrification. and communities were told by the government that all of the housing downtown must be eliminated and rebuilt. that is still going to happen. we haven't heard anything in a while. but the housing communities all the way from charleston, they are slated to be taken down and be built over because that is an african american population. >> urban renewal. does anybody know the answer? >> that housing authority has about 1400 units of housing that are or low income citizens.
they have engaged in a program through hud that they call rental assistance demonstration. what that will allow, many of those home units that you referred to were built into the 1940's and 50's. they are in horrible condition. the program works like this. you have to keep the 1400 units. you have to offer those residents the opportunity to stay in a housing unit. but the goal is to upgrade those that can be renovated or in some cases where the product is so old that it needs to be replaced , that that be done as well. it is a big investment to improve the housing and still
make it available to those that live there. so you do get into the logistics of we tear something down that somebody can't be living there, right? so the plan is to build 100 new units. and then relocate 100 families from 100 units into the new units, then tear down the next 100, build 100 new ones, then go to the next one and move looks over. so it will be a big shell game, if you will, for some time. it will take about a decade to do. but the end of the day is a good thing. it's new or renovated housing because the condition of many of those unit is so poor. it is going to happen, but very protective of those current
residents. >> almost out of time. reverend, closing hot? >> one of the questions that we didn't really get to was about our civil discourse and our communities. as we talked about earlier, just having these types of forms, having common ground and showing the commonalities that exist. i remember when we were planning for the anniversary of charleston, covid sort of co-opted it. there be a broad street where everybody would be able to come together. those types of opportunities for us to rally as a community and not necessarily in the aftermath of tragedy, but in times of triumph, celebration, and resilience that enable us to
recognize that we are all charlestonian's and we are strong together. as we contemplate charleston moving award, we have to unite in order to be a city that can do that. >> and break bread together. let's think our wonderful panelists, please. and we thank you. you have been a marvelous audience. especially the young people. >> thank you, panelists. wonderful discussion and if i might share, a perspective that really rings together what we heard tonight. we heard how people are pursuing their own narratives and telling their own stories. there is an opportunity to tell a common story and we heard about how that migrates to these different issues all throughout society and how government
treats people. and what we have seen is these separate narratives are a barrier creating these opportunities. the ideas are there, the goals are there. but this narrative holds majorities back from acting. so what i would like to encourage everyone to do is help tell the common story. let's press our representatives to put more into public spaces. contextualize this better so people have a common understanding to view the community as one and not as separate lanes. when you view the community as one, we will have that are education for everyone. you'll want more economic opportunity and you will treat people fairly with long was meant because you want the rising tide to float all boats and realize that we are competing in an international world more and more everyday and
better for everyone to have that common story. please engage in that discussion with your representatives. follow, like, share. tell everyone about the c-span broadcasts coming up and the other youtube leos on these topics that we have. we welcome your voice on the forum board. please reach out. one other point i wanted to make is that there are many organizations in the community already working in these particular areas. and we have them as action partners. we have the newest of the group, a new group called south carolina for criminal justice roof -- reform. it will be available through our website as well. just encouraging you to get
>> welcome to atlanta history center's virtual author talks series. i am the vice president of public relations and programs rated it is my honor to record -- to welcome you to tonight's event featuring the story of david hackett fischer. he just came out with a new book last week. the book is "african founders: how enslaved people expanded american ideals close vote. if you have not gotten your copy of the book, it is available in the store.