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Protesters gather at State House in opposition to South Carolina 'Heritage Act'

Opponents to the bill coalesced around the Benjamin Tillman statue - one of the main objects in question.

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. — College students from around South Carolina made their way to the State House on Saturday to protest the state's controversial "Heritage Act".

The state's NAACP Youth and College Division teamed up with the University of South Carolina's NAACP to march from the horseshoe on the university campus all the way to the front of the State House. Students called for the repeal of South Carolina's Heritage Act, which forbids the removal of objects deemed historic monuments that are on public grounds around the state.

After the march, various leaders spoke in front of the Benjamin Tillman statue to share why they came out.

"We're hoping that we can get this legislation on the floor for debate to where it can actually be voted on for repeal with legislators, that's our biggest thing," said Courtney McClain, the South Carolina NAACP Youth and College Division President.

She said they're also pushing the administration to rename different buildings or remove them completely. 

Also in attendance was Tom O'Brien who is the founder of the Take Tillman Down Campaign.

The Tillman statue has been a lightning rod of controversy in recent years - particularly given its location directly in front of the State House along Gervais Street.

Tillman was a South Carolina governor and U.S. senator in the late 1800s and early 1900s and was in favor of lynchings. As WLTX previously reported, he was also involved in the Hamburg Massacre which led to the deaths of six African Americans.

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