The most powerful politician in South Carolina, who was photographed posing as a confederate solider with black slaves at a GOP fundraiser, has come under a lot of criticism, including on this blog, to explain what he was doing. Glenn McConnell, a white Charleston Republican and president pro tem of the Senate, and a handful of white Civil War-era re- enactors were invited along with Gullah storytellers Frank and Sharon Murray, who portrayed traditional Lowcountry blacks from the 1860s, to participate in "A Southern Experience," an event hosted Friday in Charleston by the South Carolina Federation of Republican Women.The event drew 300 female political activists from across the country, including places as far away as Alaska, California and Texas. McConnell says snapshot actually shows just how far the state has come in race relations, despite what the blogosphere might have to say. Others disagree.
"This is just another blight," said Dot Scott, the president of the Charleston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
"The big picture is how little progress we have made in being human beings in this state," said Lonnie Randolph, the president of the South Carolina NAACP.
McConnell and others involved with the event wonder what all the fuss is about. From the South Carolina Post and Courier:
McConnell has been a re- enactor for 20 years. He said re-enactors like himself enjoy the pastime as a hobby. He said it also provides a chance to bring history alive and to teach the public about the past. He wasn't paid for his participation.
"What the ladies had put together was a smorgasbord of Southern culture," McConnell said. "It was reflected in the dress, the historical accuracy of the performances and even down to the food. It was wonderful, entertaining and educational night for those visitors. It showed the approach we have in this state of a shared history.
"If somebody is trying to be politically correct and use a tunnel vision on it and hook in the slavery issue, they're on a slippery slope toward narrow-mindedness and they should extend the charity of understanding. Receive it in the spirit that it is presented."
Unless one was there, one can't be sure of the spirit in which it was presented.
From the South Carolina daily paper The State, context is everything:
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