Party Like Its 1859

Stay classy, South Carolina GOP:

The National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) held its annual fall Board of Directors meeting in Charleston, S.C. last weekend – a decision the organization is likely regretting after several controversial pictures from one of the meeting’s sponsored events began surfacing on the internet.

One of the pictures shows S.C. Senate President Glenn McConnell – who FITS readers will recall enjoys dressing up as a Confederate General – posing in his Rebel garb with a pair of African-Americans dressed in, um, “antebellum” attire.

Some solid thinking went into the planning of that event.

80 replies
  1. 1
    dmsilev says:

    The event in question – dubbed “The Southern Experience” – was held last Friday evening at the Country Club of Charleston

    I do give them credit for at least attempting to recreate the authentic antebellum Southern Experience. They’d have gotten bonus points if they’d auctioned off the two African Americans to the highest bidders.


  2. 2
    Crashman says:

    Hey, idiots! The war ended 145 years ago and you LOST! Get it through your thick skulls!

  3. 3
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Where’s zombie Sherman when you need him?

  4. 4
    celticdragonchick says:

    I still can’t quite believe I just saw what I saw.

    My God. I am simply out of words.

  5. 5
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    It was okay, though, because several of the ladies in attendance invited the young bucks men for, um…dinner.

  6. 6
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Where’s zombie Sherman when you need him?

    I’d settle for taking an M4 Sherman right through the front parlor of that place…76 millimeter gun and all.

  7. 7
    NonyNony says:


    After yesterday’s clip from YouTube with the parade and the guy with a whip, I think I’m completely numb.

    But I guess I can still recognize 10 pounds of awful in a five pound bag. Because yeah, that’s awful.

  8. 8

    The guy on the left in the photo looks like the roofies are wearing off and he is just realizing that he is being used.

  9. 9
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    But the only reason wingnuts can barely even get a double-digit percentage of the Black vote is because LIEbruls are the REAL racists!

  10. 10
    Culture of Truth says:

    But it’s their first Amendment right to send out pictures like that!

    But I suppose that’s only for librals and mooslims and Kenyans anchor bebbehs!

  11. 11
    Church Lady says:

    Were the two African Americans paid to be there? I’m having a hard time imagining them dressing up like that voluntarily.

  12. 12
    Jewish Steel says:

    Republicans just give and give, but I have a concern:

    Now that Democratic candidates have the loon opponents they hoped for, I wonder if there is any strategy to get them to debate or stray outside the safe orbit of their minders.

    It’s not in Paul’s, Angle’s or O’Donnell’s interest to take part in anything other than highly structured, perfectly controlled and sanitized events. That polling remains so close in some of these races is, perhaps, down to the fact that they have been allowed to holler their invective and go hide behind a rock.

    Will voters see this for the craven behavior that it is?

    Will Dems gain any traction from calling them out on it?

  13. 13
    Culture of Truth says:

    It’s a joke! You libs have no sense of hoomir!

  14. 14
    jrg says:

    Clearly these Republicans are only dressed this way to draw attention to the virtues of small government fiscal conservatism.

  15. 15
    Violet says:

    The National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW)

    When I saw the acronym, my brain turned it into “NSFW”. Fitting?

    Who are those two African Americans dressed up in the, um, “period attire” playing the washboard and tambourine? Is it a paying gig? Or are they also affiliated with the NSFW NFRW?

  16. 16
    Martin says:

    @Church Lady: The GOP was rolling out their new jobs program. “Jealous of your neighbors new pool? Show them who’s master of the neighborhood with your own house negro! It’s free-market approved!”

  17. 17
    gex says:

    I like how the event was titled “Southern Experience” not “Southern History” or “Southern Heritage”. You know, the mealy-mouthed ways they try to pretend they are celebrating something other than white supremacy and slavery. Why, that title makes me feel like I could go down to the south and have this experience now. Excellent field trip for the kids!

  18. 18
    Sue says:

    Those two African Americans have some ‘splainin’ to do.
    Oh, wait. Wrong stereotype.

  19. 19
    Punchy says:

    That’s some mighty good blackface on those crackers dressed like slaves.

  20. 20
    rikyrah says:

    the unrepentant unbridled unquestionable RACISM in this is beyond hideous.

  21. 21
    El Cid says:

    1879, or 1889, or 1899. After the withdrawal of foreign troops and on the way to white supremacist “Redemption” which rolled back the gains of African Americans, including their ability to vote and get elected to office.

    It’s not like pre-Civil War, or Civil War, because by that time those sorts of rights had never been gained.

  22. 22
    rikyrah says:

    @Church Lady:

    Doesn’t matter if they were paid.

    what kind of Black person DRESSES UP AS A SLAVE?

    not enough money in America to get me there.

  23. 23
    Face says:

    Liberal plants designed to denegrate conservatives, natch.

  24. 24
    Violet says:

    You really do have to wonder, don’t you? Who are those people? Are they being paid for that or are they affiliated with the Republicans. It’s baffling.

  25. 25
    MacsenMifune says:

    The article says Mike Steele was a speaker at the event, that must of been an awkward moment.

  26. 26
    eric says:

    Allow me to re-state what I said in the prior thread: see everything political through the prism that Obama is black.

    For many of these “people” it is okay that a black man is a better athlete, but it is not okay for him to be smarter or more successful. So, they have to create alternative factual scenarios that made Obama’s ascendancy possible. Just as every seemingly successful black man is an under-qualified recipient of affirmative action (just not Clarence Thomas, but he is not black, so that does not count), so too was Obama. In this case it was not affirmative action per se, but corrupt Alinsky-type, bare-knuckled dirty Chicago politics that stole what rightfully belongs to a white man.

  27. 27
    jl says:

    It’s just regional pride and respecting your heritage is all.

    Here in California, we like to dress up as gold miners and settlers at parties and chase after injuns with a gun. Or we chase after some dress up heathen Chinee, Or trashy Okies Arkies and Dakes (they were kicked out of the white man club here in CA from the depression to WWII).

    All good fun. Everyone does it.

    Can’t have any regional pride and respect for your heritage without that kind of fun and gags, can you?

  28. 28
    KG says:

    @Jewish Steel: the smart play, I think, is to offer debates and when they refuse run ads asking “what are they so afraid of?” or “they want to represent you for six years, don’t you have the right to know what they believe?” The tone has to be just right because you don’t want it to come off as whining that the other side won’t debate you or make themselves available to voters in some real, unscripted way. The tea partiers want to show that they are part of some groundswell of righteous indignation (or whatever), so the response is to turn it around on them and show that they are hiding from the people they seek to represent – show that they are actually the one’s who are aloof and out of touch with reality or the people.

  29. 29
    Tres Chouette says:

    The question is, does anyone down SC-way even blink an eye at this kind of thing anymore? I mean, when the Lt. Gov. of the state has already compared poor schoolchildren to stray animals (presumably while the Guv himself was off…um, “hiking”), what is the real probability of a Wingnut Event Horizon here?

  30. 30
    WereBear says:

    They should be required to read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs.

    In which she explains the moral bankruptcy of the slaveholding society; that the men force themselves on their servants, and their wives know it, and that a society who speaks constantly of “honor” is but a mockery of morals and ethics.

    And so it continues today.

  31. 31
    El Cid says:

    Post-Civil War “Redemption” and the defeat of Reconstruction gains.

    Redemption, in the history of the United States, was a term used by white Southerners to refer to the reversion of the South to conservative Democratic Party rule after the period of Reconstruction (1865–1877), which followed the American Civil War.
    During Reconstruction, the South was under occupation by federal forces and the state governments were dominated by the Radical Republicans. These Republicans pressed for the granting of political rights to the newly freed black slaves.
    The Thirteenth Amendment (banning slavery), Fourteenth Amendment (guaranteeing the civil rights of former slaves and ensuring equal protection of the laws), and Fifteenth Amendment (prohibiting the denial of the right to vote on grounds of race, color, or previous condition of servitude) enshrined such political rights into the Constitution.
    Numerous educated blacks returned to the South to work for Reconstruction. Some blacks attained positions of political power under these conditions. However, the Reconstruction government was unpopular with many elite white Southerners, who were not willing to accept defeat and continued to try to prevent black political activity by any means.
    In the 1870s, the Southern Democrats exercised power through paramilitary organizations such as the White League and Red Shirts. Southern Democrats continued to enforce their influence with white paramilitary groups that turned out Republican officeholders, and terrorized and assassinated other freedmen and their allies to suppress voting.
    By the time of the presidential election of 1876, only three states of the South — (Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida) had not yet been taken over by white Democrats, or were “unredeemed”. The disputed Presidential election between Republican governor of Ohio Rutherford B. Hayes and Democratic governor of New York Samuel J. Tilden was resolved by the Compromise of 1877.
    Hayes became President in exchange for numerous favors to the South, one of which was the removal of Federal troops from the remaining “unredeemed” Southern states. With the removal of these forces, Reconstruction came to an end.

    These were the original “I want my country back” types.

  32. 32
    stuckinred says:

    @celticdragonchick: Shit, the KA’s at the University of Georgia annually parade on horses and confederate uni’s. When the University took their (and other frats) land they turned down a campus location and built smack dab in the middle of a historic African American neighborhood near campus.

  33. 33

    That wingnut looks more like the Bellhop at the Lexington Hotel.

  34. 34
    Zifnab says:

    You pass this around South Carolina and it will probably only increase a Republican’s odds of getting elected. I mean, for Christ’s sake, you had Virginia Governor Macaca with a freak’n noose hung in his office back in ’02. These guys have absolutely no shame.

  35. 35
    Jewish Steel says:


    Ah, yes. That makes good sense.

    Getting the tone just right, not too whiny, not too bullying. Not too focus-grouped, not too artsy. I’ll bet that is very tricky indeed.

  36. 36
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Crashman: There was some guy a while back rationalizing that the war wasn’t over because God never loses and God was on their side.

  37. 37
    Mumphrey says:

    Yeah, well, I for one am sick of all the liberal racism I see every day at this site and many otherrs like it. It’s anti-white racism to point out that some dumb, racist asshole is racist. And it’s racist to be upset that he was dressed up like a slaveowners standing next to to black people dressed like slaves, because, well, because black people liked slavery, where they didn’t have to work or anything, and the whites did all that hard thinking for them and welfare state racism and Democratic plantation and poverty pimp and Strom Thurmond was a racist when he was a Democrat and then he went colorblind and became a Republican, why do you hate America and wacking off is evil and I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!!!!!!

  38. 38
    wasabi gasp says:

    M.C. Washboard was rocking out Public Enemy covers that night.

  39. 39
    stuckinred says:

    @rikyrah: Ever here of Aunt Fanny’s Cabin in Atlanta? It closed in 1994. African American waiters had a chalkboard with the menu on it hung around their necks and they sang the offerings.

  40. 40
    lacp says:

    Aren’t you the same libtards that bitched about there being no black people at these events? Well, here’s TWO of them! See? See?

  41. 41
    stuckinred says:

    @lacp: And ask all those Cocks how the feel about Lattimore running for 182 yards against Georgia. What I’d really like to see is all these brothers say fuck this shit and play for Grambling again!

  42. 42
    Joshua says:

    I’m not black, so what do I know, but what self-respecting black man or woman would attend an antebellum costume party dressed like this, while white people walked around in Confederacy uniforms?

  43. 43
    celticdragonchick says:


    They should be required to read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs.

    I wrote a paper on sexual exploitation of African American women based largely on that book.

  44. 44

    If they can’t have a permanent majority, a permanent Halloween will have to do.

  45. 45
    Warren Terra says:

    Yup. I actually appreciate the dude’s dressing up as a Confederate general: it’s always handy when the assholes wear distinctive clothing so you can recognize them. Heck, it’d be a good thing if he never again went normally attired, so that anyone who encountered him could immediately know his true nature.

    But what on God’s earth could possess those two Black folks to play Steppin Fetchit? The only decent explanation I can come up with is that they were there as a sort of propaganda performance art – specifically so as to get in photographs like this one that reveal the Republicans’ level of nostalgia for the fine Southern traditions of slavery and sharecropping.

  46. 46
    stuckinred says:

    I think you folks need to get up off the black people that were there. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure they were working.

  47. 47
    aimai says:

    I’m waiting for them to go the whole Boss Hogg and actually try selling some people at the next “Southern Experience” fundraiser for the GOP.


  48. 48
    Mumphrey says:


    I go along with this. South Carolina is a desperately poor state. If some black guy has to choose between feeding his children by dressing like a slave for some racist asshole, or seeing them go hungry, then I can’t say anything against him for playing along.

  49. 49
    lacp says:

    So that’s what we’ll be hearing when the campaigning really heats up? “Confederacy – fuck, yeah!”

  50. 50
    Egypt Steve says:

    Lighten up. They’re obviously Rolling Stones fans, getting down to “Brown Sugar.”

    Politically atrocious but it’s got a groove …

    Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
    Sold in a market down in New Orleans
    Scarred old slaver knows he’s doing alright
    Hear him with the women just around midnight

    Brown sugar how come you taste so good?
    Brown sugar just like a young girl should

    Drums beating, cold English blood runs hot
    Lady of the house wonderin’ when it’s gonna stop
    House boy knows that he’s doing alright
    You shoulda heard him just around midnight

    Brown sugar how come you taste so good, now?
    Brown sugar just like a young girl should, now

    Ah, get along, brown sugar how come you taste so good, baby?
    Ah, got me feelin’ now, brown sugar just like a black girl should

    I bet your mama was a tent show queen
    And all her boyfriends were sweet sixteen
    I’m no schoolboy but I know what I like
    You shoulda heard me just around midnight

    Brown sugar how come you taste so good, baby?
    Ah, brown sugar just like a young girl should, yeah

    I said yeah, yeah, yeah, woo
    How come you…how come you taste so good?
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo
    Just like a…just like a black girl should
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo

  51. 51
    Egypt Steve says:

    @Mumphrey: Sorry, but you lost me at “whacking off is evil.”

  52. 52
    Tsulagi says:

    All that linked photo needed to really bring home the minority outreach bacon was a caption “These are my black friends!”

    Good to see SC edging out TX and FL in clueless stupid. For too long those larger states had a death grip on that category.

  53. 53
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    “South Carolina: giving North Carolina a reason to feel good about itself since 1788.”

  54. 54
    BenJammin' Cisco says:

    That is all.

  55. 55
    Chyron HR says:

    @Egypt Steve:

    Politically atrocious but it’s got a groove …

    Does it really count as racist if all you can make out is “BRAOWN SUGAH HABDA GABDA GOO”?

  56. 56
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    @wasabi gasp: Haw!

  57. 57
    lockean says:

    Actually, that seems to be a union uniform not a confederate uniform. Confederate uniforms were gray, not blue. There is in the first picture a sliver of someone with a confederate uniform in the back right. Another picture has a man dancing in what I think is a union naval uniform.

  58. 58
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Haha! I’ve been hearing that song since I was a teenager and just now found out I’ve been singin’ it wrong. You mean his mother wasn’t a sensual queen? Who had all her boyfriends at sweet sixteen? D’oh.

  59. 59
    jl says:


    If these guys are into playing authentic history dress up games, you can’t tell whether Union or Confederate just from the colors:

    The original Confederate uniforms from all branches of the military closely followed the lines of the Union’s uniforms. Near the beginning of the war, some Confederate units wore dark blue outfits that were often mistaken at the field of battle for the enemy, conversely, many Union units which were originally militia units went to war wearing grey. By 1863, all troops were asked to obey the Regulations for the Army of the Confederacy and have cadet grey uniforms.

    Confederate States Navy uniforms

    Confederate States Navy DepartmentThe first of the Navy uniforms were made in dark blue, but with the Southern style of rank insignia for the officers. The 1862 Confederate regulations ordered the uniform to be steel grey and lined with a dark black silk serge. They were also made in medium grey and cadet grey. They were made of wool, and these uniforms were not fit for the heat of the lower decks of a ship.[10] Non-commissioned officers wore a variety of uniforms, or even regular clothing.[11]

    Any pics of people in those colorful baggy pants outfits? What were they called? Soaves? Zuaves? something like that? Different units wore all sorts of stuff in the military back then.

  60. 60
    Tony J says:

    Yeah, but, be honest with me, how many of you read ‘South Carolina GOP’ in the intro and were in the least bit surprised by what you saw?

    Disgusted, confused, offended, yeah, that’s natural. But no one was actually thinking it was odd to see South Carolina Republicans acting in that way, were they?

    Does anyone know a number I can call to get the tolerances on my WTF Meter recalibrated? The GOP done broke it and I haven’t got a spare handy.

  61. 61
    jl says:


    No one dresses up like a zouave anymore?

  62. 62
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Actually, they were there as Gullah storytellers/musicians.

    From Sharon Cooper-Murray’s FB profile:

    I, Sharon Cooper-Murray am a native of South Carolina raised in Florence County. After attending college I returned to South Carolina and have resided in Charleston since that time. When I arrived on Wadmalaw Island, SC it was the first time I heard the Gullah language, I was fascinated by the tone and rhythm of this Creole language and that was the beginning of what has become my life long passion: the Gullah culture their stories, music, crafts, food ways, religious folkways … their way of life.
    I have served as an advocate to preserve, conserve and develop the heritage of this indigenous population, one of the activities I extensively researched has been their stories. During several oral history projects conducted on Johns and Wadmalaw Island I had the opportunity to hear first-hand their stories and tales and was also introduced to the crafts from a group of people ranging in age from 78-96 years old. Their stories were the catalyst that propelled me into storytelling. The crafts they made during my visits to their homes included rag quilting, twiss up dolls and many other crafts. The interaction of children and their elders was an essential part of passing skills from one generation to the next and that’s how I learned these amazing crafts. Since that time I have been telling tales and teaching the crafts in a variety of forums including schools, churches, conferences, family reunions, festivals, craft shows and the list goes on. I have traveled extensively throughout the East coast of the United States passing on the crafts and telling the tales of the Gullah people.

  63. 63
    tt crews says:

    This is the “Official Call” for the event. The black people may be the Gullah singers and story tellers listed as part of the event.

    Since Gullah culture came to South Carolina via enslaved African peoples it was incredibly tone deaf to dress up as a Confederate General.

  64. 64
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    Sorry, meant to also include her professional page too:

    The Gullah Lady

    You can see the washboard man in the pics of the singing group.

  65. 65
    Egypt Steve says:

    @licensed to kill time: Yeah, I always used to think her mother was a “Cheshire queen.”

  66. 66
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Egypt Steve:

    I also used to hear “you should herd the women just around midnight” which was perplexing.

  67. 67
    Dog is My Co-Pilot says:

    If those were truly African-Americans with him, why on Earth would they participate in such a stunt?? I never fathomed when Obama was elected that all this hatred and racism would come bubbling to the surface.

  68. 68

    @Zuzu’s Petals: Yeah, I posted this on my personal blog (not linked here), and then found her page from some defenders of this meeting. It made me rethink some of this, to the point where I offered an apology to my readership. I think (but have not done detailed research) that this women is for real, and they weren’t there playing Stepin Fetchit, but rather portraying a real aspect of African-American heritage.

    It still wigs me out, yet I think it’s just not as tone-deaf as the images make it out to be, and makes our side look bad to keep pushing this without that key context.

    John: I think her presence and body of work really changes the meaning of these images. I’d strongly recommend editing Zuzu’s findings into the post.

  69. 69
    asiangrrlMN says:

    When I first saw the picture, I hit white-hot rage in zero seconds. Then, I just shook my head.

    @Zuzu’s Petals: Thanks for the explanation, Zuzu’s Petals. It does explain some.

    @jl: You. The couch. Tonight. I don’t think I need to explain why.

    @Tony J: I wasn’t surprised at all. And, frankly, that saddens me.

  70. 70
    lockean says:

    @jl: Maybe

    It could be some sort of wingnut game of wearing what looks like a Union uniform but really is a Confederate uniform of a unit that had blue uniforms–plausible deniability, passive aggression, and all that–or some particular unit his ancestor was in.

    But it sure doesn’t look Confederate to me.

  71. 71
    Brachiator says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    The Gullah Lady

    Great find. Including the Gullahs perhaps makes the event more inclusive and more truly representative of a wider Southern culture than posters here originally thought.

    And from the Wiki, there is this bit of background to the story of the Gullahs.

    The Sea Islands were the first place in the South where slaves were freed. Long before the War ended, Quaker missionaries from Pennsylvania came down to start schools for the newly freed slaves. Penn Center, now a Gullah community organization on Saint Helena Island, South Carolina, began as the very first school for freed slaves.

  72. 72
    Zuzu's Petals says:


    I always thought I’d like to visit the Sea Islands, especially after seeing this movie:

    Daughters of the Dust

  73. 73
    ruemara says:

    giving me a soulache. and a big, double-barreled pimpslap to the 2 AAs wearing that mammy & remus gear. Fuckers all around.

  74. 74
    DonkeyKong says:

    The Modern Republican Party, shooting Abe Lincoln in the head all over again.

  75. 75
    Brachiator says:


    giving me a soulache. and a big, double-barreled pimpslap to the 2 AAs wearing that mammy & remus gear. Fuckers all around…

    If, as Zu Zu’s Petals notes, these are Gullahs representing their traditional culture, then your reaction may be unfair.

  76. 76
    ruemara says:


    I read that, a while after I posted. I’m, sadly, not feeling too poorly about it. Perhaps the antebellum feel does not inspire me. I respect the Gullah culture and would appreciate it more, say, at a Juneteenth Celebration. Surrounded by the same people who profited off of slavery and who’s appreciation; I fully admit to prejudicial thinking here, may not be in the same vein.

    Shorter, ruemara: too soon.

    I’ll take back the fuckers all and just say fuck.

  77. 77
    RinaX says:

    @Tony J:

    I’d have been surprised if it hadn’t involved something like this story. But yeah, par for the course as far as what I expect from the SC GOP.

  78. 78
    Brachiator says:


    I respect the Gullah culture and would appreciate it more, say, at a Juneteenth Celebration.

    Juneteenth, strictly speaking, applies to Texas, the last area of the old Confederacy to be informed about the freeing of slaves. The Gullahs were the first to be freed. The Gullahs have an independent tradition, which should be respected.

    I understand your position, but then again, it is noteworthy that the Gullahs were included as part of Southern heritage. They reisisted and transformed their circumstances into something more than being either slaves or ex-slaves whose lives need to be defined in relation to white Southerners.

  79. 79
    bjacques says:

    The GOP aren’t taking any chances with the po’bucker vote.

  80. 80
    lockean says:

    According to McClatchy: “McConnell says he is dressed in the photograph in a blue Confederate Navy captain’s uniform.”

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