Civil rights elder preserves S.C. history

Kara Anderson profiles Cecil Williams, photographer who has documented the civil rights movement in South Carolina.

In elementary school, Cecil Williams photographed lawyer Thurgood Marshall’s early efforts to desegregate public schools. In high school, he documented the ‘60s civil rights sit-ins. As a young adult, he covered Harvey Gantt’s 1964 desegregation of Clemson University, the aftermath of the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre and the 1969 strike by Charleston hospital workers.

“The saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. But no. I say a good picture, a storytelling picture is worth a thousand words,” said Cecil Williams, a 78-year-old civil rights photographer.

Williams’s body of work, spanning the last six decades, defines good documentary photography in South Carolina. Starting as a child in the ‘50s, the Orangeburg native covered most major civil rights events in the Palmetto State, from the 1954 Brigg v. Elliott case, which he claims started the national civil rights movement, to the removal of the Confederate battle flag from atop the South…

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State of Georgia in 1939: African-American recreation facilities only needed to include “simple local developments”

Throughout the [Georgia] State Planning Board’s Report on Outdoor Recreation in Georgia (1939), the writers advocated for segregated recreational facilities based on racial and socioeconomic categories. … For white “land owners,” prime destinations apparently included coastal and mountain destinations “during the warm summer months” and “especially when crop prospects” were favorable. But for “the white tenant class of the farming population,” the report observed, “recreation among the men and boys” consisted primarily “of hunting and fishing” and sports. Additionally, these white tenant families–perhaps white wives and girls more specifically–enjoyed “old fashioned church sociables [sic] … and special events” such as barbecues. Finally the authors assessed African Americans, who were not subcategorized as property owners or tenants or by their sex. The authors’ racial stereotypes assumed that African Americans’ recreation was “peculiar to their racial characteristics” and only “centered around churches.” As such, African American recreation facilities only needed to include “simple local developments, such as playfields with barbecue grounds and swimming pools.” African Americans, so the thinking went, would not like the beach or mountains, and these prescriptions ultimately limited African American exposure to particular types of outdoor recreation and environments.

From pp. 103-4, Southern Water, Southern Power: How the Politics of Cheap Energy and Water Scarcity Shaped a Region by Christopher J. Manganiello.

Segregationists Opposed Federal Government Multi-Use Water Projects in the South

[McCormick, SC attorney] Frank Harrison was among a small group of regular writers to South Carolina’s congressional delegation who linked the Savannah River’s water and energy history to the nation’s civil rights conflict and postwar rights-based liberalism beginning in the 1950s. … “The taking of huge areas of private property by the Federal Government is becoming increasingly dangerous especially in view of  the recent [Brown v Board of Education] Supreme Court decision and other actions of the administration in attempting to continue the centralizing power of the Federal Government.” “The widespread increase of federal public use and recreation areas may result in serious political repercussions in this state and other states because these areas may become areas which cannot be used to any extent by members of the white race.” … The conservative letter writers who shared their ideas about Trotters Shoals and environmental politics identified entitlements–to local self-determination, to peaceful segregated recreation, or access to the water supply–as fundamental rights. [pp 158-60]

From Southern Water, Southern Power: How the Politics of Cheap Energy and Water Scarcity Shaped a Region by Christopher J. Manganiello.

Don’t Throw Away Your Vote on #HRC

Voting for a 3rd party candidate may influence an election in certain states. In other states, voting for the Green Party, if its positions reflect yours, sends a message to politicians about your values. For us in Georgia and South Carolina, as of today Trump is more likely to win our states. If the vote in Georgia and South Carolina is close, than one must assume HRC is winning in the rest of the country and Trump victories in Georgia & South Carolina won’t matter. So consider voting for Jill Stein in South Carolina & writing her in your ballot in Georgia.

Should you vote? YES

Bigot Harkens Back to Civil War Nostalgia to Ban Syrian Refugees

I’ve previously blogged about the dangers of romanticizing the United States Civil War by ignoring the question about whether the cause of the combatants was just and emphasizing their heroism.

Read how one bigot testified at a South Carolina Senate hearing urging adoption of legislation restricting resettlement of Syrian refugees in South Carolina:

I find it curious that Syrian men of fighting age have abandoned their country in a time of crisis; American men did no such things during our bloody Civil War.

Read more of this witness’s testimony and my rebuttal of some of its points.

Ignorance Towards Syrian Refugees at All-Time High in South Carolina Hearing

A South Carolina Senate committee hearing on proposed legislation to restrict Syrian refugee resettlement included misleading testimony. Reporter Eva Moore authored this article published in the Free Times of January 27, 2016.

And one woman went all in on themes touched on by a number of other speakers.

“Not only is the federal government bringing South American and Central American foreigners to disenfranchise me,” she said, “But in their frenzy to import a more favorable voting bloc the federal government is compelling South Carolinians to accept Muslim refugees as well.”

She invoked the recent mass assault in Cologne, Germany, suggesting a deeper agenda to refugees’ desire to come to America.

“I find it curious that Syrian men of fighting age have abandoned their country in a time of crisis; American men did no such things during our bloody Civil War,” she said. “Could it be that wealthy older male Muslims have taken for themselves a disproportionate number of wives? Perhaps these older polygamists are only too happy to send their young men out to take women through conquest. And if they die trying, their imams have assured them that their deepest sexual and social frustrations will finally be satisfied. How disastrous that European men relinquished their duty to defend their wives and daughters and permitted their government to strip them of the means to do so.”

The racism & religious bigotry reported in this article are outrageous, but pointing that out hardly seems to matter these days. A few basic facts should be mentioned, however. Continue reading

Is Proposed Kinder Morgan Palmetto Pipeline an Issue for Progressives?

madyan

And unto Midian (We sent) their brother Shu’eyb. He said: O my people! Serve Allah. Ye have no other god save Him! And give not short measure and short weight. Lo! I see you well-to-do, and lo! I fear for you the doom of a besetting Day. O my people! Give full measure and full weight in justice, and wrong not people in respect of their goods. And do not evil in the earth, causing corruption. That which Allah leaveth with you is better for you if ye are believers; and I am not a keeper over you. They said: O Shu’eyb! Doth thy way of prayer command thee that we should forsake that which our fathers (used to) worship, or that we (should leave off) doing what we will with our own property. Lo! thou art the mild, the guide to right behaviour. He said: O my people! Bethink you: if I am (acting) on a clear proof from my Lord and He sustaineth me with fair sustenance from Him (how can I concede aught to you)? I desire not to do behind your backs that which I ask you not to do. I desire naught save reform so far as I am able. My welfare is only in Allah. In Him I trust and unto Him I turn (repentant). Quran 11:84-88, Pickthall translation

Kinder Morgan, an energy infrastructure company, has proposed the Palmetto Pipeline, a spur pipeline which would take refined petroleum products from a point on an existing pipeline in northwestern South Carolina through Georgia to Jacksonville, Florida. A coalition of environmental advocates and landowners has organized to oppose the pipeline. Continue reading