The Citadel could lose nearly $1 million in Charleston County funding if it does not agree to remove a Confederate flag from Summerall Chapel, Councilman Henry Darby said Monday.
If you go
What: Charleston County Council meeting
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: 4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston
Darby said he will make that proposal to County Council at its meeting Tuesday night.
"I really feel saddened by this. It's just still as if they are trying to preserve the Confederacy," he said.
The Democrat finds the situation particularly troubling because the flag is located in a house of worship.
"It's the re-raising of the Confederate flag," he said.
In response, The Citadel said that the flag is a "Confederate Naval Jack" that hangs in the rear of the chapel as a memorial and falls under the state's Heritage Act.
In 1939, the Cadet Yacht Club presented the flag to Citadel President Gen. Charles P. Summerall, the school said.
A representative from The Citadel will attend the council meeting to listen to concerns about the flag and to present information on behalf of the college.
Summerall accepted the flag as a "tribute to the courage and valor shown by American manhood in fighting for a cause," The Citadel said in a statement.
Darby said that the presence of the flag in the chapel was brought to his attention by non-African-Americans. Darby earned a master's degree from The Citadel in 2007.
"The flag was not there when I was a student. It almost hit me in my face. It's very blatant. As soon as one opens the door," he said.
Darby said he discussed the situation to no avail with high-ranking Citadel officials who told him the matter was out of their hands.
The military college is scheduled to receive $950,000 in accommodations tax revenue in the new county budget that begins in July. The funds are used to help pay off the debt on renovations to Johnson Hagood Stadium.
The Citadel said that the Naval Jack is one of 57 flags hanging along the interior walls of Summerall Chapel. It was given to the school after Gen. Summerall wrote governors across the country asking them to donate a state flag for display in the new chapel. In his letter, the president described Summerall Chapel as a "shrine, not only of religion but of patriotism," The Citadel said.
The opinion that the flag is a memorial is based on Summerall's remarks in that letter and reported in the April 1939 Bull Dog, the cadet newspaper at the time.
The state's Heritage Act was passed by the South Carolina Legislature in 2000 to protect established monuments and memorials located on public property that represent American wars or events of Native American and African-American significance. The legislation was part of a compromise reached to win support for removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House and relocating it to a monument on State House grounds, The Citadel said.