Photos: Confederate Memorial Day - Columbia, SC
A small group of men and women stand around the Confederate Monument at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, SC. With their hands not occupied with flag poles, they point to the sky and their heads swivel with excitement. “It’s beautiful,” says one woman as a plane passes behind the statehouse dome towing a giant Confederate battle flag and the words, “No Compromise!”
Dressed in a frock coat and holding a 1820 double barrel shotgun acquired in an estate sale, Marion Hudson tells me about Miss Hiers, his fourth grade teacher when he lived in Charleston. “She said you're a Charlestonian first, a South Carolinian second and an American last. And that the Ashley and Cooper Rivers made the Atlantic Ocean. And I believed it,” he says, “I'm out here to honor my Confederate ancestry and honor all the soldiers that fought for The South. Black, white, Hispanic, Indian. I've been doing this since 1986 and I've only missed about three years.”
Meanwhile out in front of the monument a young woman named Georgia stands alone holding a piece of cardboard. It reads, “Black Lives Matters.” She has acquired two bottles of water and a bottle of Gatorade at her feet and she’s starting to wonder how long the pro flag folks might be out here. She mentions one of those bottles came from the folks behind her. I tell her they might be out here all day.
"Well, I drove past,” she says, “And I think they were here earlier this week too and this was the first chance I had a free day. It just kinda made me mad and I wanted to come out and do something. I'm not an activist. All I did was write a phrase on a piece of cardboard. I guess I'm out here to remind them that their days are numbered. From one descendent of Confederates to another, just because it's your heritage and your history it doesn't mean that it's right. And it doesn't mean it's not harmful.”
“You can be proud of being southern. You can acknowledge your history. You don't have to wallow in guilt, but you have to acknowledge what happened. And if you don't, it tells me that you're willing to let it happen again.”
South Carolina is one of six states that celebrate Confederate Memorial Day as a public holiday and in this one, it’s observed every May 10, unless it falls on Saturday or Sunday, and then it’s observed on May 9 or May 11.
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Southern Heritage: poor white men fighting & dying so rich white men might continue to own chained black (wo)men. an epic con job with tragic consequence for all.
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