Secession festivities begin; only a handful of protesters rally
Dec 20, 2010
Mayor Riley attends some of the day's events.
A small group turned out to protest the gala.
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Several hours after officials unveiled a new historical marker to identify the site where South Carolina delegates signed the Ordinance of Secession a small group of protesters rallied against the day's commemorative activities.
The marker was unveiled Monday in downtown Charleston, where Institute Hall once stood. Monday marked the 150th anniversary of South Carolina's secession from the Union, which led to the Civil War.
Michael Allen says the marker itself is just the start of the sesquicentennial commemoration.
"This is the beginning of a four-year journey and beyond of looking at a tragic part of our American experience," he said.
Randy Burbage says it's important to study the history around the events leading up to the war. And he says the marker itself helps tell the story.
"People walking down the street, unless they saw the plaque on the wall of this building, wouldn't have realized where it was at," Burbage said.
Nine members of the Charleston branch of the NAACP picketed outside the Francis Marion Hotel Monday afternoon. People who are attending the South Carolina Secession Gala Monday night at Gaillard Auditorium are staying there.
"Take your celebration someplace else and I don't know whether someplace because I don't think there's an appropriate place to have a celebration about the Confederacy," said Charleston NAACP branch president Dot Scott.
Organizers of the gala say secession is not about slavery, but is about states' rights. Scott disagrees.
"This is about states' rights to own slaves, and while every time there is an issue we're speaking about, oh they're bringing in the race issue," Scott said.
The NAACP also protested at the Embassy Suites hotel.
After the hotel protests the NAACP planned to march from Gaillard Auditorium to Morris Brown AME Church on Morris Street.