As a native of South Carolina, it’s always interesting to me how many people mix up the two states of North and South Carolina. On Black History Month in 2010, there’s often praise for how Greensboro, North Carolina turned an old Woolworth’s lunch counter, the home of a black sit-in 50 years ago, into a civil rights museum. It often leads to a conversation of how much the South has changed.
Unfortunately, in the area of civil rights, major differences remain between the two states. North Carolina is far more progressive than South Carolina. The people of North Carolina are better educated and led by far better politicians.In South Carolina, a confederate flag still flies daily in front of the State House on government-owned property. In a 1999 television interview on CBS Sunday Morning, State Sen. Robert Ford reminded flag opponents that they weren’t going to resolve the issue with a barrel over the heads of the “white men” in the state.
“These white men in South Carolina in 1861 started a civil war that lasted five years without a navy, army, air force or marine, because somebody was trying to tell them what to do... This is not Arizona. This is South Carolina—[home of] the meanest, toughest white men on the planet.” That remains true today.
The governor of South Carolina may be best known for his martial infidelity, but his real shame is the way he has handled the money of the state. The Corridor of Shame still defines the black-white divide of the state’s schools. The state’s unemployment and poor education system still ranks among the highest. Black prisoners still maintain the civil rights memorial at the state house.