Chadwick Boseman (photo courtesy Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

More than 40,000 people have signed an online petition calling to replace a Confederate monument in Anderson, South Carolina with a statue of the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who was born in the city.

Boseman died on August 28 after a four-year battle with colon cancer that he had kept private from the press. His unexpected death at age 43 left his fans and colleagues shocked and bereft.

“With Chadwick Boseman’s early passing, it is important that we honor a true local legend my [sic] immortalizing him in stone in front of the courthouse,” the petition reads. “The Confederate Monument belongs in a museum, but has no right to be displayed there.”

Launched shortly after Boseman’s death on Friday last week, the petition is addressed to Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, and the state’s House and Senate.

The petitions call to relocate the confederate state to the county museum with proper historical context. “The old statue need not be destroyed,” it says, “However, with the engravings on the base, it is beyond time for its retirement.”

The inscription on the monument’s base reads, “The world shall yet decide, in truth’s clear, far-off light, that the soldiers who wore the gray, and died with Lee, were in the right.”

Boseman, the anonymous petitioner writes, “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.”

Before starring in Black Panther, Boseman portrayed historic Black icons like baseball player Jackie Robinson in the biopic 42 (2013), singer James Brown in Get on Up (2014), and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017).

The petitioner acknowledges that the removal of the confederate statue would require the approval of the city of Anderson and the South Carolina Senate, as well as permission from the Boseman family. But the petition clarifies that the call to remove the confederate monument “stands regardless of its replacement with another statue.”

“With help from the signers of this petition I hope that it becomes apparent how popular this idea is,” the petitioner writes. “It is time to unify Anderson around a true local hero and time to honor all South Carolinians, not just the ideals of a few.”

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...