Thousands have signed an online petition calling for a statue of the late Chadwick Boseman to replace a Confederate memorial in his hometown of Anderson, South Carolina.Friday at the age of 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer.
The change.org petition is requesting the removal of a Confederate memorial located in front of the Anderson County Court House. The petition has amassed more than 40,000 signatures as of Wednesday, with a current goal of 50,000.
“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,” wrote the petition’s creator, listed only as “Anderson Citizen” on the site. The petition added, “Anderson needs to honor a citizen that inspired millions. Anderson needs Chadwick Boseman, may he rest in peace.”
According to CBS affiliate WCSC-TV, the petition was created by DeAndre Weaver. He graduated from the city’s Anderson University this past spring with a degree in acting, according to the school’s website.
“There’s no reason [the Confederate Monument] should be there anymore,” Weaver told WCSC. “If we could replace that with something honoring Mr. Boseman, that would be so positive for the community.”
The petition specifies that it is not calling for the destruction of the monument, just that it be permanently moved to a local museum. “It should preserve history, but not honor the ideals for which the Confederacy stood,” the petition outlines.”
The petition is directed towards Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and the state legislature. Roberts and representatives for McMaster have yet to respond to CBS News’ request for comment.
The petition notes that there are “two separate causes” in the petition, one to remove the monument and one to replace it with a statue of Boseman. It adds, the idea to remove the Confederate memorial “stands regardless of its replacement with another statue.”
The city plans to host a tribute event to the famed actor on Thursday, featuring a prayer service and showing of “Black Panther,” WCSC reports. McMaster said Saturday that he ordered the Statehouse flags to be lowered to half-staff on Sunday to “honor the life, contributions and memory of a truly extraordinary son of South Carolina.”
Boseman never publicly disclosed his battle with cancer, according to the Associated Press, so both his death and the cause came as a shock to his devoted fans. According to a post on his Twitter account announcing the actor’s death, he was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2016 and it eventually progressed to stage four.
He wasfor playing King T’Challa in “Black Panther,” as well as real-life Black icons, such as James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and Jackie Robinson.