James Frances Byrnes Monument
The one-and-a-half-times sized bronze statue of James Francis Byrnes depicts the former judge and politician seated serenely in his Supreme Court robes. At Byrnes’s request, private donations, rather than taxpayer dollars, funded its creation. Although it is the first monument on the grounds commissioned for a living person, the statue was not unveiled until several weeks after his death. Byrnes served as a U.S. Congressman (1911-1925), U.S. Senator (1931-1941), U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice (1941-1942), U.S. Secretary of State (1945-1947), and as South Carolina’s governor (1951-1955). An ardent segregationist, he played a key role in blocking anti-lynching legislation while in the U.S. House of Representatives and delivered the main address at the unveiling of the Benjamin Ryan Tillman Monument on the State House grounds in 1940—coincidentally the last monument erected before Brynes’s own.
In order to place the sculpture across from both Byrnes’s gravesite at Trinity Cathedral and the South Carolina State Supreme Court, the General Assembly moved the South Carolina Monument to the Women of the Confederacy to its current location; it had previously been moved to the northeastern corner of the State House grounds from the capitol's south steps in 1935.