Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Damaged Kress plaque honoring lunch counter sit-in could be reinstalled before end of year

"It’s lurching forward"

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 10:38 AM

The Kress Building marker was installed in 2013 - SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
  • The Kress Building marker was installed in 2013
It was a loading truck that knocked the plaque down. After the Preservation Society of Charleston installed in 2013 a King Street historic market to honor the bravery of 24 students from Burke High School who sat down at King Street's Kress lunch counter on April 1, 1960, a delivery truck smacked it down last year, and it's been in limbo ever since.

But now Tim Condo, Preservation Society Manager of Preservation Initiatives, says that plans for reinstalling the important Civil Rights marker are finally moving ahead.

"It’s been slow for a number of reasons," says Condo. "It’s lurching forward."  Hiccups arose immediately following the fender-bender that took the two-sided marker down. First, Preservation Society of Charleston had to figure out if sign makers could customize a new plaque that could fit onto the building to avoid pedestrian and car traffic altogether. That process also involved revising the text to fit a one-sided plaque.
"We took a bit off about the architectural aspects and left the Civil Rights information on it," he says."Then we had to figure out and contact the owner of the building and run the text by him and get that approved." Now Preservation Society is awaiting approval from the tenant itself, H&M to give the A-OK. And if all that gets completed, Condo says, "Historic Charleston has an easement and we haven’t broached the subject with them."

But he's optimistic that installment could happen before the end of the year. Once approved, the plan is to place the marker on the right hand side of the building's front windows.

The monument will serve as a testament to the city's segregated past. As the Post & Courier reported about the 24 students, "They were not served. They were told to leave. They did not leave. They hummed songs and recited the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm." All of the students were arrested with bail set at $10 each.

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