Making the rounds of the internet, you tube and facebook is a photo taken at The National Federation of Republican Women’s Conference, in South Carolina
I actually got quite a few messages from friends who have facebook who were not amused.
Hat tip to Kossak MeMeMeMeMe for this diary, South Carolina GOP Holds Nostalgic Gathering
McConnell, has a different take on this innocent visit to the glorious past of South Carolina.
Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell says a picture circulating on the Internet of him dressed in a Civil War-era military uniform alongside two African-Americans outfitted in period costumes was an innocent moment among friends – nothing more. The picture, taken during a Republican women’s conference in Charleston last week, however, has managed to capture national media attention. Some think the image callously evokes the state’s slave-holding past.
McConnell, a Charleston Republican, is perhaps the most powerful lawmaker in the state, also chairing the pivotal Senate Judiciary Committee.McConnell also is widely known in the state as an avid Civil War enthusiast and re-enactor. His passionate advocacy for restoring the Confederate Hunley submarine is legendary and controversial.McConnell insists the image is being misinterpreted. “It was a friendly photograph,” McConnell said Wednesday. “It’s a great statement as to how far this state has come.””Receive it in the spirit it was presented that evening,” McConnell urged, adding there were no apologies to be made for the effort.
But others said the image evokes painful memories of historic oppression in this state. South Carolina once had the nation’s second-largest slave port in Charleston, where the photo was snapped.”That’s the senator’s unfortunate world view,” said Rev. Joe Darby, first vice president of the state NAACP, noting the African-Americans in the picture are in a seemingly subservient role. “The troubling question is how much does his world view affect his approach to public policy?”
As a student of the south, the history of slavery in the US, north and south I am sick and tired of those people steeped in sugar-coated, cleaned up images of happy darkies and the glories of the Southland.
Oscar Brown Jr. did a better job in his classic tune “Bid Em In”.
Reenactment’s of the days of enslavement show no pain, no whips, no chains, no blood sweat and tears.
My family history should never be portrayed as someone else’s “nostalgia”.
I actually have to agree with Cenk Ughar, who covered the story.
How is this “history” of the south as a nostalgia journey any different than German’s perhaps re-enacting the era leading up to WW2?
According to the article, the black folks invited to perform were part of a cultural group:
Among the invited re-enactors were members of a Gullah-Geechee cultural group, which travels around bringing to life the Lowcountry African-American experience during the mid-1800s, including their dress, music and singing.
Nice. I too celebrate Gullah cultural survival against all odds. But context is all important, and somehow I don’t think Republican women have the interests of current day blacks in South Carolina, or anywhere else for that matter, as a core value.
Unless of course we get back in where they think is “our place”.
Cross-posted from Daily Kos