CHARLESTON, S.C. — Charleston police are trying to determine who vandalized a South Carolina monument honoring a Black man who was hanged for a failed rebellion plan aimed at freeing enslaved people in the city.
Mayor John Tecklenburg’s office said police found “significant damage” to the granite pedestal of the Denmark Vesey monument in a Charleston park. Authorities believe the damage was caused Saturday or Sunday by a vandal with a large hammer or some similar object.
The city is asking anyone with information to call the Charleston police.
“We will repair this damage. We will work to punish those who did it. And we will never allow this kind of cowardly misconduct to divide our city or distract our citizens from the real and meaningful progress that we are all making together,” Tecklenburg said in a statement.
The National Park Service said Vesey, a former enslaved man who purchased his freedom, was executed in 1822 by Charleston authorities for plotting an uprising among the enslaved population. The agency said abolitionists hailed Vesey as a hero for his actions and used his name to recruit Black troops during the Civil War.