African-American State Senator defends Secession celebrations
December 22nd, 2010
Many South Carolinians objected to a recent Civil War memorial celebration, leading to NAACP-sponsored demonstrations at the Charleston site of the Secession Gala and in front of its attendees’ hotels.
But one local African-American official recently defended the secession celebration.
Robert Ford, state senator from Charleston, openly stated his support for celebrations of the sesquicentennial of South Carolina’s secession.
In a December 21 press release, Ford stated “every African American and every White citizen across the United States should celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.”
The War Between the States had black soldiers on both opposing sides, Ford pointed out, and both slaves and free black men in the Confederate military.
“Those men who fought and died in the Civil War of 1860-1865 did so because they felt that they were doing the right thing,” Ford said. “In 2010, who are we and why do we think that we have the right to say they were wrong? “So, to all of those brave men – black and white, slaves and free – we should make every effort to take part in this celebration over the next five years.”
The sesquicentennial of the end of the Civil War will be in 1865.
The South Carolina Secession Gala, held in Charleston on December 20, was sponsored by the Confederate Heritage Trust with aid from the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Three local Republican officials participated in a dramatic reenactment of the State Assembly's signing of the Ordinance of Secession.
The local chapter of the NAACP organized a protest of the Gala at its Gaillard Auditorium location, followed by a march to a nearby AME church for a forum to discuss the event and its indication of reborn racism.
Ford has served in the state senate since 1993, and ran for governor in the 2010 Democratic primary.