Category Archives: South Carolina Politics

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Reading Marathon

The Uncle Tom’s Cabin  reading marathon will be held on April 12 beginning at 8:00 am at the The Modjeska Monteith Simkins House at 2025 Marion Street in Columbia and will run until the entire novel has been read.
 
The event is being held on April 12th  in response to the many Civil War “commemorations” going on across the South and nation this year. April 12th is  the 150th anniversary of the start-up date of the Civil War.   The date is also significant in that the Confederate flag was first placed atop the SC Statehouse dome in 1962 during the centennial observances of the Civil War.
 
Since many of those commemorating and celebrating the “Lost Cause” want to write African enslavement out as a core reason for the war, many of us feel that it’s important to set the record straight in a historically connected way.
 
We want to tell the enslaved Africans and abolitionists’ side of the story. 
 
Why This Book?  When Abraham Lincoln met the Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 he is said to have remarked, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

Though slave narratives were immensely popular, Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin reached the broadest audience prior to the Civil War.  Stowe’s anti-slavery message was less threatening to white audiences than were ex-enslaved Africans.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin had a tremendous impact.  Most blacks responded positively to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Frederick Douglass was a friend of Stowe’s; she had consulted him on some sections of the book, and he praised the book in his writings.  Most black abolitionists saw it as a tremendous help to their cause.  Some opposed the book, seeing Uncle Tom’s character as being too submissive and criticized Stowe for having her strongest black characters emigrate to Liberia.

The character Uncle Tom is an enslaved African who retains his integrity and refuses to betray his fellow slaves at the cost of his life.  His firm Christian principles in the face of his brutal treatment made him a hero to whites.  In contrast, his tormenter Simon Legree, the Northern slave-dealer turned plantation owner, enraged them with his cruelty. Stowe convinced readers that the institution of slavery itself was evil, because it supported people like Legree and enslaved people like Uncle Tom. Because of her work, thousands rallied to the anti-slavery cause.

Only 5,000 copies of the first edition were printed. They were sold in two days. By the end of the first year, 300,000 copies had been sold in America alone; in England 200,000 copies were sold.  Southerners were outraged, and declared the work to be criminal, slanderous, and utterly false. A bookseller in Mobile, Alabama, was forced out of town for selling copies. Stowe received threatening letters and a package containing the dismembered ear of a black person. Southerners also reacted by writing their own novels depicting the happy lives of slaves, and often contrasted them with the miserable existences of Northern white workers.
 
Individual participants will read for 10 minutes. Slots are filling up but we are still asking fraternities and sororities, high school and college english classes, churches, social groups, politicians, theater people, kids, etc., to get involved.
 
The event is being sponsored by the Harriet Tubman Freedom House Project, the Columbia Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the South Carolina Progressive Network.

Partial List of Participants: Vanzell Haire, Rev. Sandy Jones, Rev. David Edmonds, Tom Clements, Bill Roberson, Hi Bedford Roberson, Kevin Alexander Gray, Scott West, Frances Close, Eva Moore, Tom Turnipseed, Lyn Phillips, Don Frierson, Cassandra Fralix, Gerald Rudolph, Mattie Haynes, Roland Haynes, Becci Robbins, Marjorie Hammock, Michael Watts, Brett A. Bursey, Efia Nwangaza, Catherine Fleming-Bruce, Meryl Truesdale, William Felder, Patricia Daniels, Guy Fowler, Marjorie Trifon, Camille Gray-Felder and many others.
 
For more information and press inquiries call 803.386.4759 or email Kevin Gray @ kevinagray57@gmail.com.
 
http://uncletomscabin.clarity-dev.com/

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Famous South Carolinians | Harry Shuler Dent, Sr. | By Kevin Alexander Gray

Republican strategist | “The Architect” of the “Southern Strategy” & neo-con movement

St Mathews , SC ( Feb. 21, 1930-Sept. 28, 2007)

Harry Shuler Dent – “The Architect”

Most noted for devising the “Southern strategy” that was crucial to Richard M. Nixon’s winning the White House.  Dent was “the architect” and Lee Atwater “the practitioner.”

Dent was born in St. Matthews the son of Hampton N. and Sallie P Dent. He had four brothers.  He attended high school in St. Matthews and, graduated cum laude from Presbyterian College in Clinton in 1951.  He was as eagle Scout and a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternnity.

He was a lieutenant in the Army infantry during the Korean War and was a Washington correspondent for several South Carolina newspapers (including columnist for The Orangeburg Times and Democrat) and radio stations before joining the staff of US Senator Strom Thurmond.

In the 1950s, Dent joined Thurmond’s staff (1955-65).  Thurmond was then a Democrat and had run for president as a segregationist Dixiecrat in 1948.

Dent went to law school at night, receiving a bachelor of laws degree from George Washington University (1957) and a master of laws from Georgetown University (1959).

When President Lyndon B. Johnson championed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, some Republican strategists saw a voter windfall in the South with the belief that their party could reap the votes of white people uneasy with Democrats, or downright hostile to them, for advancing the cause of black people. Continue reading

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Shooting Cans | By Kevin Alexander Gray

The Racist Assault on the 14th Amendment

One of the many racist jokes I heard in the 70s during my time in the military starts with two white soldiers on the rifle range. One soldier asks the other how he learned to shoot so well. “I like shooting cans right off the fence,” the other soldier says, “Af-ri-cans, Por-to-ri-cans and Mex-i-cans.”

The joke came to mind when I heard Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina saying, “birthright citizenship is a mistake,” followed by his GOP cohorts’ claim that immigrants have “anchor babies” as a way to tie themselves to the benefits of U.S. citizenship. Graham says he’s considering introducing a bill to rescind Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, which generally guarantees U.S. citizenship to those who are born within U.S. borders.

That is not all it does. The section reads:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Also called the “due process” clause or the “equal protection” clause, this part of the 14th Amendment is the very foundation of U.S. civil rights law. The new nullifiers who talk of getting rid of it thus signal the nature of their purpose and the intrinsic unity of those they hold in contempt, like so many cans on the fence.

“Anchor babies” makes for better headlines, and it’s diverting. “People come here to have babies,” says Graham. “They come here to drop a child. It’s called, ‘drop and leave.’ To have a child in America, they cross the border, they go to the emergency room, have a child, and that child’s automatically an American citizen. That shouldn’t be the case.”

“Drop a child.” It’s as if he were talking about animals.

Graham is not up for re-election, but his child-dropping potshot is designed to appease a right wing that is angry because he’s “too liberal,” he’s “no Jim DeMint,” saddled up with the Tea Party and the likes of Ollie North and Tom Tancredo. A Greenville County Republican committee even voted to bar Graham from future meetings and events, censuring him “for his cooperation and support of President Obama and the Democratic Party’s liberal agenda.”
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Famous South Carolinians | Harvey Leroy “Lee” Atwater | By Kevin Alexander Gray

Aiken – Political consultant and strategist to the Republican Party 

 (February 27, 1951March 29, 1991)

Atwater was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but grew up in Aiken, South Carolina, and graduated from Newberry College, a small private Lutheran institution in Newberry. He married and was father of three daughters.

Atwater was an advisor of  Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He was also a political mentor and close friend of Republican strategist Karl Rove. Atwater invented or improved upon many of the techniques of modern electoral politics; including promulgating unflattering rumors and attempting to drive up opponents’ “negative” poll numbers as techniques. His foes have characterized him as the “happy hatchet man” and “the Darth Vader of the Republican party.”

112th Governor of South Carolina from 1987 to 1995 | Republican

Atwater rose during the 1970’s and the 1980 election in the South Carolina Republican party, working on the campaigns of Governor Carroll Campbell and Senator Strom Thurmond. During his years in South Carolina, Atwater became well known for running hard edged campaigns based on emotional “wedge issues.”

US Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC)

Atwater’s aggressive tactics were first demonstrated during the 1980 congressional campaigns. He was a campaign consultant to Republican incumbent Floyd Spence in his campaign for Congress against Democratic nominee Tom Turnipseed. Atwater’s tactics in that campaign included push polling in the form of fake surveys by “independent pollsters” to “inform” white suburbanites that Turnipseed was allegedly a member of the NAACP. Atwater also highlighted that Turnipseed had been “hooked up to jumper cables” as a teen undergoing electroshock therapy for depression.

Tom Turnipseed

After the 1980 election Atwater went to Washington and became an aide in the Ronald Reagan administration, working under political director Ed Rollins. During his years in Washington Atwater became aligned with Vice President Bush, who chose Atwater to run his 1988 presidential campaign.

 

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Georgia and South Carolina Community Leaders discuss halting work on Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Disposal Site

Georgia and South Carolina Community Leaders Hold Press Conference to Discuss Decision to Halt Work on Yucca Mountain Permanent Nuclear Waste Repository

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 –  National Press Club,  Washington, DC

Available via webcast at www.visualwebcaster.com/Finish-Yucca-Mountain | <http://www.visualwebcaster.com/Finish-Yucca-Mountain>.
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“The Federal Government’s decision to halt work on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository represents a betrayal of trust by the Department of Energy (DOE) with communities where high-level defense waste and commercial spent fuel are currently stored.

That is the message being delivered to the Department of Energy by  more than 40 community leaders from five counties around DOE’s  Savannah River Site near Aiken, SC, at a Washington, DC press  conference on April 28.  These elected officials and business leaders  represent counties in both Georgia and South Carolina. Continue reading

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