Thursday, June 18, 2015

The South's Oldest Newspaper

(Updated below)

Someone has posted on social media a photo of today's Charleston, SC Post and Courier showing a gun coupon stuck over the headline about the shooting massacre at the AME church that left nine dead.

If you called the Post-Courier newsroom they'd say Advertising did it and if you called Advertising they'd say the coupon was scheduled days ago and was stuck on automatically or something like that.

That would probably be true but having lived in Charleston and knowing what a right wing Republican red neck rag the Post-Courier is it's nice to see them be embarrassed. Note how in the headline they put 'hate crime' in italics, as if to say "so called."

 They used to run a permanent little headline under the name that said "The south's oldest newspaper." I lived there when the African American community had just begun efforts to make the state stop flying the confederate battle flag on top of the capital building in Columbia. The flag they flew, the one that's usually called the confederate flag, isn't the actual confederate flag but one of several battle flags that were used. The one they flew of course is the KKK flag. There were people ready to die to keep the flag from coming down and as the efforts to remove the flag began to gain some traction the Post Courier editorialized to the effect that maybe if we got rid of some other "symbols of division" like Martin Luther King then we could take down the confederate flag.

Flag of the Confederacy

Charleston is another world. There's an old upper class there who live in big beautiful old pastel colored mansions that line Charleston Harbor who think they're sophisticated and keeping alive the traditions of their past. The Civil War is like yesterday there and it's as if they're still fighting it. Charleston of course is where the civil war began when confederate troops shelled a Union fort on a little island in the harbor, and yet many people there refer to the Civil War, even in print, as the War of Northern Aggression and sometimes even the War of Yankee Aggression.

The Citadel is in Charleston. It's a military cadet style college and everyone who wants to be in politics or business in South Carlina must graduate from it. (My ex actually got her Masters in Special Education from there but for graduate degrees you didn't have to be a cadet.)

In Charleston they always say the Citadel was begun to train officers for the Civil War, but that's not exactly true. I found out in doing research on Denmark Vesey that it was actually begun after the aborted 1822 slave revolt organized by Vesey, a free black man who lived in Charleston. Someone ratted out the rebellion and Vesey and 34 others were hanged, but it scared white Charleston to death because in those days slaves greatly outnumbered white people in South Carolina. So they started the Citadel to train white gentlemen to head up militias in case of another slave revolt, I learned.

The old Citadel, which is now a city office complex that includes the public library, has a big giant statue of John C Calhoun in front of it that's on a pedestal that must be four or five stories tall.

Calhoun/Old Citadel

That AME church where the shooting took place, by the way, is where I heard Jesse Jackson speak when he was running for president. That was definitely the most electrifying speech I've ever heard. I was the only white person there. I wasn't working at a paper at the time but I pretended to be a reporter because I wasn't sure if they'd want me to be there, so I didn't jump and and cheer, but those people who were there sure did. Jesse lit the place up.

There was no media coverage of the speech or of Jackson's visit to Charleston, as it turned out. That's Charleston.

Update: The Intercept tells the story of connection between Denmark Vesey and Emmaneul AME Church, were the massacre took place.


  1. I know this isn't a reasoned or really even logical response, but good lord, I despise the south. My daughter Kate pointed out the ad to me earlier today.

    1. Thanks for the comment Mike and the information. I'm glad that thing's getting some circulation because it wouldn't on my account.

  2. Not much has changed since I was stationed at Charleston Naval Hospital in 1969. Thanks for this post. It is reassuring to read.