Do you find yourself in or around Charleston this evening?
Charlestonians, generally a hard partying lot, are getting a jump on the festivities commemorating the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War by holding the Secession Gala Ball tonight, organized by the Confederate Heritage Trust, and sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The event, criticized as "a celebration of treason and slavery" by the ever vigilant and vocal local chapter of the NAACP, which plans to protest the gala, is privately funded.
Mark Simpson, the S.C. division commander for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said his organization condemns slavery and respects the NAACP’s right to protest.
“We could look back and say (the Civil War) wasn’t something to celebrate – about 620,000 died in the North and South,” Simpson said. “If you count civilians, you’re up to about a million killed in that war. “Do we celebrate that? Heavens no,” he said. “War and death is never something to celebrate. But we do celebrate the courage and the integrity of 170 men who signed their signatures to the Article of Secession – the courage of men to do what they think is right.”
Part 2 of the festivities is the display of the Article of Secession. Seems no one in SC is willing to raise their hand and say have it here.
The first plan was to display it at First Baptist Church in Columbia, where it was drafted on Dec. 17, 1860. The church – whose website notes secessionists met there by order of the S.C. Legislature, “not by invitation of the church” – had no interest in displaying the document.
Next the plan was to display the Articles at the State House, but it was decidedly unwelcome there. The document is on display at the Archives and History building in Charleston.
And so 150 years later, the war continues. We have come so far, and have so far to go.
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