Skip to comments.Secession ball stirs controversy
Posted on 12/03/2010 4:39:40 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
Event marks war's anniversary
CHARLESTON -- The shots are solely verbal -- and expected to remain that way -- but at least one Civil War Sesquicentennial event is triggering conflict.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans plan to hold a $100-per-person "Secession Ball" on Dec. 20 in Gaillard Municipal Auditorium. It will feature a play highlighting key moments from the signing of South Carolina's Ordinance of Secession 150 years ago, an act that severed the state's ties to the Union and put the nation on the path to the Civil War.
Jeff Antley, who is organizing the event, said the Secession Ball honors the men who stood up for their rights.
"To say that we are commemorating and celebrating the signers of the ordinance and the act of South Carolina going that route is an accurate statement," Antley said. "The secession movement in South Carolina was a demonstration of freedom."
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People plans to protest the event, said Charleston branch President Dot Scott. She deferred further comment to Lonnie Randolph, president of the state NAACP.
"It's amazing to me how history can be rewritten to be what you wanted it to be rather than what happened," Randolph said. "You couldn't pay the folks in Charleston to hold a Holocaust gala, could you? But you know, these are nothing but black people, so nobody pays them any attention."
When Southerners refer to states' rights, he said, "they are really talking about their idea of one right -- to buy and sell human beings."
Antley said that's not so.
"It has nothing to do with slavery as far as I'm concerned," he said. "What I'm doing is honoring the men from this state who stood up for their self-government and their rights under law -- the right to secede was understood."
Antley said, "Slavery is an abomination, but slavery is not just a Southern problem. It's an American problem. To lay the fault and the institution of slavery on the South is just ignorance of history."
Antley said about 500 people are expected to attend the ball, which begins with a 45-minute play and concludes with a dinner and dancing. S.C. Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, an ardent Civil War re-enactor, is among the actors in the play. The actual ordinance of secession document also will be on display.
Randolph said the state NAACP is consulting with its national office in Baltimore regarding the format of the protests, which also could extend to other 150th anniversary events. "There is not one event that's off the table," he said.
Asked whether there could be good Sesquicentennial events, Randolph said, "If there were a dialogue to sit down and discuss that event 150 years ago and how it still negatively impacts the lives of so many people in this state and around the country, that would be a good discussion, but not an event to sit down and tell lies about what happened and glamorize those people who thought America was so sorry and so bad that they wanted to blow it to hell. That's what they did -- that's what they attempted to do, and we want to make that honorable?"
Charleston is receiving increased national attention as the nation's plans for the Sesquicentennial move forward. This was where it began, with the state becoming the first to secede on Dec. 20, 1860, and firing the first shot on April 12, 1861.
Most of the Lowcountry's Sesquicentennial events have been announced with little controversy -- many involve lectures by respected historians and scholars.
In its vision statement for the observance, the National Park Service said it "will address the institution of slavery as the principal cause of the Civil War, as well as the transition from slavery to freedom -- after the war -- for the 4 million previously enslaved African Americans."
Michael Allen of the National Park Service said he is aware of plans for the Secession Ball but noted that most Sesquicentennial events have found common ground among those with differing viewpoints.
"Now some people might be upset with some pieces of the pie. I understand that," he said. "I think that's the growth of me, as a person of African decent, is to realize that people view this in different ways."
Allen said other Sesquicentennial commemorations being planned will mark events that have a strong black history component, such as Robert Smalls' theft of the Confederate ship Planter and the 54th Massachusetts' assault on Battery Wagener.
"At least what's being pulled together by various groups, be they black or white or whatever, will at least be more broad based and diverse than what was done in 1961," Allen said. "Hopefully, at the end of the day, all Carolinians can benefit from this four-year journey."
Tom O'Rourke, director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, said Sesquicentennial organizers were fooling themselves if they thought the Confederate side of the story was going to be buried in the observances.
"I think there will be controversy, I think there will be hurt feelings, and I think that as this anniversary passes, we will question what else we could have done to tell the whole story," he said. "But I am OK with all of that. ... I think all discussion is progress."
Read more: http://www.thesunnews.com/2010/12/03/1847335/secession-ball-stirs-controversy.html#ixzz1737LSVRv
You are my favorite Yankee. You can move here if you want.
The South wanted citizens within their own state to control their destiny. The North wanted a feel-good solution imposed on those who were "less enlightened". Much of this was about money (commercial trading/industry vs agriculture) and much of this was about imposing morality on others.
The Democrats were morally wrong when they supported slavery, but they were morally right when they defended states rights. The North sought to use the national government to impose its will on sovereign states of the South, and that directly contravenes the type of government outlined in our constitution.
It's incorrect and simplistic to say that the ACW was caused by unhappiness of the election results of 1860.
No doubt the NAACP is going to milk this for all the fundraising benefit they can. One side provokes and the other side complains and both sides raise money. Too often that has been the story of Dixie.
Sorry, but Lincoln did more damage to the “work of George Washington” that the South ever did.
I just wish I could go...
It is quite evident to see that you are only trying to instigate a fight and ill will toward those Southern Freepers who have the “audacity” to be proud of their ancestors who fought for the South. You sir are worse than a San Francisco liberal.
There were radical elements in the North who wished to do that, but they were not even a controlling element in the Republican Party. The South had more than a sufficient number of Northern allies to protect their domestic life.
But the Republican tide was a mortal threat to the expansion of slavery in the territories.
If the issue was merely sustaining non-interference in the slave states, the logical course would be to continue in alliance with the moderate North. Secession only made sense if the motivation was the militant radical spread of slavery.
Well, y’all are welcome to come back through Atlanta any time... (Where is Sherman, now that we need him?)
I think you ought to be proud of your ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. Its the secessionist politicians who behaved shamefully.
Please explain how the secession of South Carolina was an attempt at the "militant radical spread of slavery".
Looks to me like SC was trying to avoid federal interference and was protesting violations of the constitution. There is nothing in the secession of SC that had anything to do with spreading slavery.
Sorry, but one of the MAJOR issue was the tariff. The South shipped a lot of cotton overseas and wanted to bring stuff back in cheaply. The North wanted to hold the South as a captive market and raw material source through high tariffs. Essentially the North wanted to practice mercantilism against the South.
After the South seceded, the Northern industrialists and merchants had visions of grass growing in the streets of New York and Boston, because of low (10%) tariffs in Charleston and New Orleans. The Federal Government had visions of bankruptcy (approx. 75% of the Fed’s revenues came from the South). The fact that the South controlled the mouth the Mississippi made this all the worse.
Politicians on both sides acted like crap. However, the NAACP is the most shameful of all.
I have little doubt that NAACP would lose that debate because the NAACP would overstate their case and crudely apply the broad brush. But I’m not the one saying that the Confederate soldier was generally a slavery-obsessed monster. I’m just talking about the secessionists themselves, a manipulating political elite who often took great pains to avoid exertions and dangers.
FYI, Emancipation Proclamation was signed 1 Jan 1863, Battle of Gettysburg 1-3 July 1863
Just for fun, some South Carolinians should lobby for a commemorative “First to Secede” license plate.
But what was the Constitutional violation in the election of Abraham Lincoln? The secessionists might not have liked higher tariffs, but as long as they were Constitutionally enacted, what is the complaint? And I have no doubt that Northern and Southern Democrats acting in concert could have modified that.
Frequently I’m no great fan of the NAACP’s rhetoric on the Civil War. Too often they make the 16 year old rebel farm boy soldier into a combination of Benedict Arnold and the Grand Dragon of the KKK.
Great to see a celebration of the rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence.
Thanks for the article.
You are clearly historically retarded. I cannot find any evidence anyone was manipulated into secession. The people of SC voted on it as did the other 10 states, the people voted on those ordinances. Nice try.
Most of those types were found in WV,PA, OH and IN.
I know Georgia produced a very suspect secession marred by falsified returns and several supposedly unionist delegates voting against the will of their electors to take the state out of the Union.