Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Thomas Brown


The post-Reconstruction monuments in South Carolina have attracted scholarly interest for their role in promoting an alternative “Lost Cause” interpretation of the Civil War and its aftermath. Once established, this monument tradition continued to flourish throughout the twentieth century. The emphasis on a grassroots monument financing campaign has existed from the beginning of the monument building movement in South Carolina, as elsewhere in the American South, since the turn of the twentieth century. What has shifted is the role of the corporation in providing private funding for monuments. As the twentieth century progressed, the state came to play a much reduced role in galvanizing interest in monument campaigns by providing matching funds for private donations. This paper begins with a discussion of the Tillman statue (1940) at the South Carolina State House, one of the last projects within the old public-private matching strategy in South Carolina. Moving past midcentury, new projects firmly established the role of the private sector in arbitrating the public monument landscape. When public funds were allocated, as was the case with Columbia’s Vietnam Statue (1986), they were given with the understanding that they benefitted urban business development. In preparing the James F. Byrnes Monument (1972), corporate and professional donations were sought directly. However, this monument project demonstrates that the corporate citizenship concept had yet to develop as fully as it would at the end of the twentieth century. In the case of the Byrnes e↵ort, almost all donations, including most of the largest donors, gave as individuals, even though most were prominent corporate leaders or professionals. The Vietnam Memorial opted to use the voluntary services of a professional fundraiser,

John Stringer Rainey, a trend that would continue to develop in future monument projects. The last two monument projects examined, the African American History Monument (2001) and the Strom Thurmond monument (1998) lacked the reservations of the earlier projects in relation to corporate funding. While grassroots support was still encouraged, as was the tradition, corporations in their respective corporate names controlled the funding processes of these expensive monument projects. Especially revealing is the case of the Strom Thurmond monument, where the corporate donors are etched into the stone of the monument itself.


© 2017, Justin Curry Davis