Two organizers of an Ohio Memorial Day event have now resigned after censoring a U.S. Army veteran who was discussing the role freed Black slaves played in founding the holiday.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports Cindy Suchan stepped down this week from her role as president of the Hudson American Legion Auxiliary. Her resignation comes days after Jim Garrison, the head of American Legion Post 464, stepped down from his position.
Both officials faced widespread criticism and calls to resign for their decision to turn off Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter’s mic during a speech in front of hundreds of people in Hudson, Ohio.
Kemter’s microphone was cut off when he began discussing how freed Black slaves in Charleston, S.C., were among the first to commemorate Union soldiers who died as prisoners of war by giving them a proper burial, decorating their graves and organizing a parade in their honor.
While it was assumed to be a technical glitch at the time, The Akron Beacon Journal reported the event’s organizers admitted to cutting the audio as Kemter’s discussion “was not relevant to our program for the day.”
Suchan reviewed Kemter’s speech days before the program and asked the veteran to remove certain parts of the speech, as organizers wanted to keep it directly related to veterans from Hudson. Kemter, however, decided to deliver his speech as it was originally written.
The American Legion Department of Ohio called on the two organizers to resign after an investigation found the censoring of Kemter’s speech was planned. Officials also suspended the Hudson post’s charter.
“The American Legion Department of Ohio does not hold space for members, veterans, or families of veterans who believe that censoring black history is acceptable behavior,” Roger Friend, department commander for the Ohio American Legion, said in a statement.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA