Posts Tagged ‘civil rights’

July 4th Reflections on the Confederate Flag

July 4, 2015

It has been several years, and I plan to re-post this every year until we are free from that flag. Thank you.

Pamela Kay Noble Brown

July 4th stands for freedom and independence.  Upon reflection, those who favor the Confederate flag flying on the State Capitol grounds of Columbia, South Carolina, do have this right.  But why in the name of compassion and empathy would they want to?

The Confederate Flag is a banner that yet waves over the State Capitol grounds of Columbia, South Carolina.  It has been waving since 1962. It is time that the proud citizens of Columbia, South Carolina, take down the Confederate Flag.  Columbia’s city slogan is “Famously Hot”.  South Carolinians should be hot about this embarrassment hanging over our city.

Many people in favor of keeping this flag flying argue that it is a part of history, and as such, should not be forgotten, or removed.  This, however, is a part of history that is nothing to be proud of. Many of the Confederate Soldiers fought for the cause of…

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Senseless Death Results in Surprisingly Low Voter Turnout

March 16, 2015
Will Empty Voting Booths be the death of our next generation?  (Photo Credit:  commons.wikimedia.org)

Will Empty Voting Booths be the death of our next generation? (Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org)

After the tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, it seemed as if the country was ripe for a change. The shooting of the unarmed Black teen by White Ferguson Police Officer Darrell Wilson occurred in August 2014, and is still a topic of hot controversy. The story brought about massive protests, in Ferguson and nationwide. The majority of the protests were peaceful, although some did get out of hand, leading authorities to don riot gear and threaten tear gas.

 
The cutting down of this young man brought out leading activists from all over the United States, and social media platforms exploded with offerings of support from observant users in many other countries. America was poised on its tiptoes for change, as it seemed that even Fate was holding her breath to see what the unleashed fury and grief that had been building through the centuries was going to bring. And then, in the big reveal, the curtains swished open to reveal nothing. That is, the poll booth curtains. For all the talks and marches, the most recent Ferguson elections in late 2014 netted an increase of only four percent more people showing up at the polls.

 
Voting is something that you do not have to pay to do, unlike many in past generations who were hurt and killed in the fight for the right to cast their ballot. Voting is something that many employers will give you time off to do before the polls close. And the majority of precincts, as well as radio stations, will provide information on how to get a free ride to vote. If your health allows, there is no reason not to vote…ever. That cop who committed cold-blooded murder on a teen, allegedly, is bad; but what can be said about all of the so-called supporters that can’t be bothered to lift a finger to vote for local authorities that could improve the situation? The word suicidal comes to mind. Let’s not kill ourselves with apathy. I thank you.

Colorful Maurice’s BBQ founder dead at 83, Confederate flag comes down

February 25, 2014
Master Barbeque Kingpin Maurice Bessinger  (photo credit:   BBQroadtrip.tumblr.com)

Master Barbeque Kingpin Maurice Bessinger (photo credit: BBQroadtrip.tumblr.com)

Maurice Bessinger, founder of Maurice’s Gourmet Barbeque and Piggie Park Enterprises, is dead at 83. In a 2000 interview with The State newspaper Bessinger said, “I’m just a fair man. I want to be known as a hard-working, Christian man that loves God and wants to further (God’s) work throughout the world as I have been doing throughout the last 25 years.”

In stark contrast, The State broke the news of Bessinger’s death with the glaring headline “Barbecue eatery owner, segregationist Maurice Bessinger dies at 83”. Bessinger, a Korean War veteran, was as infamous around Columbia for his belief in a racial divide as he was known for his barbeque sauce and restaurants.

When The State ran a story exposing the fact that he was giving discounts to customers who agreed to take pro-slavery pamphlets being handed out in his restaurants, many blacks and whites began boycotting his restaurants and products. This, in addition to his refusal to take down the huge Confederate flags flying over his restaurants, led Wal-Mart and many other stores to snatch his barbeque sauce from their shelves.

Bessinger allowed blacks to pick up takeout orders, but refused to have them dine in his restaurants. He defended his stance by saying that “South Carolina had biblical slavery”, not the harsh kind. This stirred up so much agitation that South Carolina electrical power giant SCANA ordered its employees not to patronize any of Bessinger’s establishments.

Bessinger’s restaurants and barbeque sauce business are now being run by his children. His son, Lloyd Bessinger, said that his father had battled Alzheimer’s disease the past seven years and had not been active in the business. Several months ago Bessinger’s children removed the last of the Confederate flags from the restaurant in West Columbia, SC.

According to The State, funeral services for Bessinger will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in West Columbia.