South Carolina Celebrates The 150th Anniversary Of Its Secession
The Secession Ball in Charleston was cause for celebration for a number of South Carolinians pining for the good old Civil War days. Hoop skirts and frock coats marked the occasion.
“We are very proud of who we are,” said Chip Limehouse, a South Carolina legislator who rented a historically accurate suit and vest for the formal ball celebrating the anniversary. “This is in our DNA.”
Great-great-great-granddad fought the Yankees, lost his plantation, was bathed in glory, the men and women at the ball like to say. They’re proud of their ancestors, they declare, and that’s why they paid $100 apiece to take part in an event touted as a “joyous night of music, dancing, food and drink.”
Charlston’s mayor, Joe Riley, calls the event “unfortunate” and “the opposite of unifying.” When he tells the crowd the secession movement was partially motivated by slavery, someone shouts, “You’re a liar!”
A narrator intoned that the 169 South Carolina men who voted unanimously to secede were “compelled by the same sublime courage” as the men who fought against Britain in the Revolutionary War the century before. Slavery was mentioned, but the main reasons for secession were portrayed as high tariffs and Northern states using Southern tax money to build their own infrastructure.
President Pro Tempre of the South Carolina Glenn McConnell is the star of the event. He is a defender of all things confederate and has a Civil War memorabilia business.
Chip Limehouse, a parking company owner who represents Berkeley and Charleston counties in the South Carolina House of Representatives, grinned when the subject of the protests came up. “They actually helped ticket sales,” he said of the protestors. “We’d like to thank them. Without them, we wouldn’t have made budget.”
Rev. Joseph a. Darby, vice president of the local NAACP has the hard evidence that slavery as the key issue of the confederacy.
Darby…spent much of the day talking about documents drafted during the secession commission that mention slavery repeatedly and cite it as a prime motivating factor. But the point, he said, is not merely a matter of historical contention. Celebrating secession, he says, contributes to an atmosphere of inequality in present-day South Carolina, where fights over the quality of education and job opportunities for African Americans still simmer. Reminders of secession are everywhere. In Charleston, there’s a Secessionville Road; in Beaufort, there’s a Secession Golf Club.Click here for reuse options!
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