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Durant woman has family ties to statue being removed in South Carolina

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 6:31 PM CDT
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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - A Durant woman has family ties to a statue coming down in South Carolina Wednesday.

“Going to school as a 15-year-old my son will now be marked as a racist because his middle name is Calhoun,” Amber Sams said.

Sams lives in Durant, but said her family is from South Carolina.

She said John C. Calhoun was her great great uncle.

Calhoun was a former vice president of the United States, known for being pro-slavery.

“I can say truly from my family’s heart that is not what we represent,” Sams said.

CBS reports protesters called for the removal of Calhoun’s statue, and Charleston, South Carolina, city council members authorized it.

That process started around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Sams said the Calhoun name runs deep in her family.

“My son carries Calhoun as his middle name, my father’s middle name is Calhoun, and his father’s middle name is Calhoun and so on and back forth,” Sams said.

Sams believes this news will tarnish her family’s name, but she wants people to know they are anything but racist.

“My daughter she is half African American and I fully support equal rights for everybody,” Sams said.

She said she even took her 3-year-old daughter to the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Durant a couple of weeks ago.

“We have to start at a young age that’s when it matters,” Sams said.

Sams said she is most worried that this will affect her kids, who have direct family ties to Calhoun.

“It drags our name through the mud we are the living descendants to John C. Calhoun, we didn’t do the things he was for and I definitely don’t stand for a lot of the things he was for, but it is still my namesake,” Sams said.

Sams said she is working with officials to hopefully get the statue relocated to the Calhoun museum in South Carolina.

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