CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The American Heritage Association has filed a lawsuit against the City of Charleston for an alleged violation of the Heritage Act.
Brett Barry, president of the association, said Thursday the city violated the Heritage Act – a state law aimed at protecting historical monuments and named structures – when the name of Memminger Auditorium was changed to Festival Hall in 2020.
Memminger, a slave owner in Charleston, South Carolina, served as the first Confederate States Secretary of the Treasury in the early 1860s.
“This update to our brand not only falls more in line with our core business and personal values, but it also more accurately represents the versatility and unique possibilities the space offers,” the auditorium noted on its website.
The auditorium, located next to Memminger Elementary off Beaufain Street in downtown Charleston, was constructed in 1939 and has served as venue for several top events throughout Charleston’s history, including Spoleto Festival USA.
“Our monuments are under assault by Mayor Tecklenburg and other proponents of Cancel Culture,” said Barry in his news release on Thursday.
“The Heritage Act was created specifically for the protection of monuments such as the Lee Memorial. Why is state law not being enforced,” asked the group’s attorney, Lauren Martel.
The group also filed a lawsuit against the city, again, for removing a Robert E. Lee Memorial from the Charleston School of Math and Science, at the request of the Charleston County School District, in 2021.
The American Heritage Association is a non-profit based in Charleston. Leaders say they are “dedicated to the preservation of America’s national memory and the principles upon which it was founded.”
News 2 has reached out to the City of Charleston for comment.