(AP) - An NAACP leader said Thursday a photo of a South Carolina Senate leader in a Confederate uniform posing with blacks in costumes reminiscent of slavery is another blow against the state.
"This is just another blight," said Dot Scott, the president of the
But Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell and one of those he posed with say the photo simply shows parts of the state's culture.
During a meeting of the South Carolina Federation of Republican Woman in
Gullah in the
McConnell, a white Civil War re-enactor and enthusiast told newspaper reporters in
"Tell me what is offensive about having the differing parts of the culture there?" McConnell asked earlier. "This picture says, if anything, how we cross cultural lines." He did not immediately return several phone messages from The Associated Press.
The picture caused an uproar when it started showing up on Web sites this week, following months of unflattering publicity the state has endured from other incidents involving politicians.
McConnell said the Republican event was conducted last week in a respectful, historical context.
Sharon Murray, who with her husband Frank has been working for the preservation of Gullah culture for two decades, said she was invited to the meeting to represent one of the cultures of
"The clothing we wear is 1860s skilled artisans wear,"
"They are dressing as we were - as our ancestors were at that time. We were slaves," she said. "In 2010, while we're trying to say we're in a post-racial era,
Then there was South Carolina U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's heckling of Obama in Congress by shouting "You lie!"
"The basis of that song is if you pray right, if you act right, if you treat people right - if you do all of that then heaven belongs to you," she said.
She said when she saw the Internet comments about the picture she thought it ironic.
"We are hearing so many things that contradict if you pray right, and act right and treat people right," she said.