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This is the archive for June 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

There is a first for everything and this post is one of them. This is the first time I have written a post specifically to answer questions from a reader. Annette made two good comments on my South Carolina by the Numbers post and I appreciated the humor that she injected into them (at least that is what I am hoping some of the statements were).

I would suggest reading Stirring the Pot and then South Carolina by the Numbers, including the comments before reading below.

Annette –
First off thank you for your well thought out and almost reasonable response.

I’m going to start off with the easy ones and work to the hard one if you don’t mind.

How long have I lived in SC

I make no secret that I am not a native to the state. Technically I am stateless because although I was born in Maine, my father was in the Navy there and I was not a citizen. I actually like it that way because I can look at it as, I had the whole world to choose to call home and South Carolina was the only one that fit right.

I’ve been in the state long enough to remember when the Democrats ran the state and the sales tax was only 4 cents. Raising it to 5 cents was going to save our Education System and have us right up there with Florida. I think we have moved 1 spot in the 25 odd years since it was raised.

South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board

You are right, as a normal person, I have no chance in hell to be on the committee and never thought I would be on it. Heck, when I emailed a few of the Senators on the Education committee and got no response, it just underlined what the general feeling to the “common citizens” truly is.

Overall it seems like an open and shut piece of legislation that keeps getting killed due to inaction. That being said, the Commission – in my opinion - is too big to begin with. Senator McConnell did a wonderful job trying to balance all the sides out in his proposed legislation but there are too many sides involved.

My point from the beginning was that every day we miss in planning is a day wasted. Not to mention several of our neighbor states are already well past the planning stages. I may harp on South Carolina but it is my beloved South Carolina and I do so only in the hopes of seeing it become a better state.

So, I am afraid that we will fall into the ole SC trap, wait until the last minute to start on something, have it implemented and it failing. Followed quickly by blaming everyone and thing but the fact that most sat on their butts instead of working.

But the reason I brought it up, was if the Confederate Flag is so important, why is no one else fighting for this Board to be established? It seems like a natural extension of wanting to promote the heritage of the state.

UDC

So, I may be misreading this from the SC Chapter's website.


Admission to the organization shall be by invitation through a Chapter.
The application shall bear the endorsement of two members of the accepting Chapter to whom the applicant is personally known. She shall be accepted for membership as described in the UDC Bylaws


The way I see it is that you fill the application out and then get it endorsed by existing members - the chapter than votes on letting the applicant in or not. The reason I read it like this has to do with my Fraternity days and we had very similar wording for our pledges. Now, also having been involved with looking into the membership process of the Washington Light Infantry and The Hibernian Society (as I found out the hard way – not to be confused with another National Irish organization) I can see where your comment comes true.

So, I than went to the National Homepage and found that at their site, they actually say, if you are interested in joining, contact a certain address. Seems like they are willing to have people prove they are of descent and let you in. For now, I’m willing to state that there is a good chance that I am wrong but does that really move the needle on those who care about their heritage?

Percentage of people fighting for the Confederacy

Here is one where I agree with your assessment of the numbers – not that I didn’t check the originals just to make sure. But by checking it did show me something that I always wondered, less than 10,000 free African-Americans were in the state. The one question on this that bothers me still, could there really have been close to 100% participation from the 15-49 year olds? It seems too much like a crooked election where 99% of the population votes a dictator back into the position. For now, I’ll have to go with that but will definitely need to look into it more.

Catering to the Minority

Like you, I did my best to find some numbers on members of the NAACP in SC but it was close to impossible to find, besides the national number of 400,000 and the fact that they were cutting staff nationwide.

But that was not what I was trying to show. It was actually comparing to one of the major arguments I hear over and over again, the flag would be catering to the vocal minority of the NAACP. When looking at the number of people who have claimed through membership their heritage, 0.12% seems like an even smaller vocal minority. So which minority is truly a minority?

One last thing on the minority, should we ignore them if they are right? I am not asking if the flag flying is right or not, I am asking if we should just ignore a population because they don’t have the numbers. Just think how much worse this country would have been without the NJ Compromise during the Constitutional Convention. SC has been real lucky in producing some powerful senators over the years. Without NJ’s fear of being ignored by the bigger states, we wouldn’t have had such a chance.

And lastly – just how hard did I hit my head

Well, I have to thank you for reading my other posts, makes me feel good to know at least one person outside of my family did.

Thankfully, the grinder didn’t hit my skull - it was more the jaw, it would be one heck of a head scar and I would hate to see what kind of bad hair days that would have made. But I will be honest that we can blame the SC educational system once again. Three years of High School football and 4 years at The Citadel can do more damage to one’s brain than you could ever imagine.



Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sunday, I stirred the pot, with a post on the Confederate Flag and the United Methodist Church passing a resolution asking for it to come off of state house grounds.

While writing the post, I thought about the rallying cry I often hear, “Heritage not Hate” and wondered just how much truth might be in that.

Not that I don’t believe the descendants who claim the flag is about their heritage and not some deep lying racism. More to the bit, how many people can actually claim it’s their heritage?

So I did a bit of research that I will now present to you which I like to call, South Carolina by the numbers. Fair warning most of the numbers are rock solid but as we get to the end, I have to make some assumptions. All population numbers come from the US Census Bureau; other numbers have their sources quoted. Any failure in the calculations is my own fault (along with the education system of South Carolina that I proudly graduated Junior High, High School and College from).

In 1860, the population of South Carolina was at a whopping 703, 708 individuals. Slaves represented 59% of this or 412,320. Although I claim to have graduated from South Carolina public education (which is normally a disadvantage) I can subtract numbers, meaning that the White population was 291,388. OK, before you ask, yes I am aware that there were some free African-Americans but I have not been able to find any number that would sway the percentage any significant amount.

Next, I found that according to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Museum some 71,000 citizens “served South Carolina in the Confederacy”, which again according to my limited math skills, soldiers comprised of just 10% of the state’s population or 25% of the White population. Keeping in context, 10% of the State was actively fighting for a government that was keeping almost 60% of the population in slavery.

Fast forward to 2000 and the population has changed dramatically and to be honest, I don’t blame it. After reconstruction, the SC government was taken over by folks bent on doing everything they could to bring the state back to the old ways. As one SC website I read said, “the African-American population was disenfranchised”, which I translated to mean, they lost almost all of the rights they gained due to the war and many left the state, hoping for greener pastures.

Which helps explain why a Reverend from New York who ran for President as a Democrat was found to be a descendant of slaves owned by the family of a man from South Carolina who ran for President as a Dixiecrat, would later become a Republican and refuse to leave the Senate well past his prime. Let’s not even get into the fact that while he was running on a platform that would keep Jim Crow laws alive and also opposing racial integration, he had a daughter growing up that was born out of wedlock to an African-American servant of his family. But we should gloss over that and get into some other numbers.

The population as of 2000 was 4,012,012, with the African-American segment only making up 30% (half of the 1860 percentage) or 1,208418. The White population is at 64.8% or 2,728,168 – while another 75, 425 are of other descent.

Shocking how close the “other descent” is to the number of those who served in the Confederacy. Here is a bit deeper analysis, 2,567,687 citizens residing in South Carolina in 2000 actually were born in SC. This does not even get into how many of the natives, like my three children, have no genealogical ties to the state. But taking on face value (which is where my numbers become assumptions), if you apply the White population of 64.8% to the number - you get an estimated 1,643,319 Whites who are native or 40% of the population of the state.

One last thing though - do you happen to know how many people in South Carolina belong to the Sons of Confederate Veterans? As a reminder, this is the group that in order to join, you have to prove that you are descended from a soldier of the Confederacy (not just those who served for SC) - ie those who truly have a stake to the Heritage of the Confederacy.

3,500

That is just 0.09% of the population of the State. Wow, talk about catering to a minority....

So the flag stays up insulting most of the African-American community and most probably have nothing to do with another 30% of the population. To top it off, the heritage part – honoring those who fought for their “rights” (state rights, not rights to own slaves, even though the state wanted to continue this) - which at the time was only 10% of the population.

So after doing all this, one question keeps popping into my mind.

If the Heritage of the State was so important, don’t you think that the South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board would have been passed into law by now and not pretty much dead in the committee for the second legislative session in a row?

There is another question I have but I really don’t want to get into how Imus could possible tie into the flag controversy. That is just too much trouble for even me to cause in one day.