Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Thomas J. Brown, Ph.D.

Second Reader

Lydia Brandt, Ph.D.


The Heritage Act in South Carolina prevents the General Assembly from changing historic names of buildings and removing war memorials from the statehouse grounds without a supermajority. This highly controversial bill prohibits altering the landscape of the state and ensures a permanent place for white supremacy. The Repeal the Heritage Act coalition formed in 2020 to challenge this legislation, and this thesis examines one of its most recent targets: the memorialization of J. Marion Sims in Columbia. To this end, this thesis studies the South Carolina Medical Association’s Journal from 1910-1940 to study the legacy of Sims and why he was chosen as a representative of the medical field to be honored on the statehouse grounds. Moreover, this thesis studies the potency of southern women’s clubs, in particular the Woman’s Auxiliary of the SCMA, and examines their adoption of the eugenics movement. This movement enabled the Woman’s Auxiliary’s project to maintain relevance well into the 1930s and contributed to the naming of the Sims dormitory on UofSC’s campus. Finally, this thesis discusses the recent movements to remove statues to Sims across the country and particularly in South Carolina to create a landscape that fosters inclusivity rather than racial violence.

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