Denver Sculptor On His Role In Keeping Confederate Flag Flying in South Carolina

Listen Now
Photo: The African American History Monument (AP Photo)
The African American History Monument is seen near the South Carolina Statehouse, Friday, June 19, 2015, in Columbia, S.C.

Though the Confederate flag was removed from atop the State House building in South Carolina 15 years ago, it still greets visitors to this day. That's because of compromise that a Colorado artist took part in.

Photo: Denver sculptor Ed Dwight
Denver sculptor Ed Dwight

Politicians there asked Denver sculptor Ed Dwight to create a monument that pays tribute to the state's African American history. As part of the deal, the flag would be removed from the State House, but still allowed to fly on a 30-foot pole beside the memorial, on the capitol grounds. Eighty-one-year-old Dwight, who is African American, told Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner he didn't initially know the sculpture would be part of a compromise.

"Once I was selected, that's when the war started, if you will. I call it a 'war' metaphorically, of course. Once I found out what was going on and how important this thing was and how critical it was, the design of it became subject to questions on both sides of the fence. Right away, they started lining up on opposite sides -- the white community and the black community -- they kind of separated. I was hoping they would stay together to make my job a little easier, but it didn't turn out that way."

Update: South Carolina to remove Confederate flag from Capitol grounds