UPDATED: A petition calling for a statue of Chadwick Boseman to replace a Confederate memorial in Anderson, S.C., the late “Black Panther” star’s hometown, reached its original goal of 10,000 signatures on Monday afternoon. After breaking its goals of 15,000, 25,000 and 35,000 by Wednesday morning, the organizers have further raised the bar to 50,000 signatures.
On Friday, Boseman died after a private, four-year battle with colon cancer, shocking many fans around the world. He was 43.
“The Confederate Monument belongs in a museum but has no right to be displayed there,” the petition reads. “I believe the community should come together to honor someone from Anderson, South Carolina, that was able to change the movie industry. He opened many doors for many young Black people with his leading roles in movies such as ‘Black Panther’ or ‘Marshall.’ It is only natural that his hometown honors what he did. There is no need for political controversy in this decision.”
Due to the state’s Heritage Act, it is illegal to remove the monument without approval from the South Carolina Senate. The petition, addressed to Anderson’s Mayor Terence Roberts, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and local representatives, urges lawmakers to relocate the Confederate statue to the Anderson County Museum, to preserve its history without honoring its ideals. The petition also comes at a time when many statues of Confederate leaders around the country are being protested due to their racist histories.
Boseman was diagnosed in 2016 with stage 3 colon cancer, and over four years, it progressed to stage 4, his family revealed. Although he never spoke publicly about his diagnosis, he worked through his treatment for much of his film career.
“Boseman knew how to fuse with a role, etching it in three dimensions, bringing it his own truth,” wrote Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman in a tribute. “That’s what made him an artist, and a movie star, too. Yet in “Black Panther,” he also became that rare thing, a culture hero — not simply because he incarnated Hollywood’s first larger-than-life Black comic-book superhero of the franchise era, but because he made him such an earthly and tangible human being.”