Dot Scott, president of the Charleston branch of the NAACP, believes that Jeff Antley and the organizers of the Secession Gala are offering a distorted view of American history. “History is what it is. If you want to commemorate it and not sanitize it, then it’s not a problem,” she says. “But there’s nothing we can see where there should be a celebration of the Confederacy, not from our vantage point.”
The NAACP president say that she has spoken with representatives of the Fort-Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historical Trust regarding their events. “There are people who really want to reach out. They really want to be inclusive. They respect the opinion of other people,” she says. “There are some things going on that are going to be very educational if people will go to do it.”
Scott believes there’s a world of difference between how the Confederate Heritage Trust and the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historical Trust are marking the sesquicentennial. “I don’t know whether or not [Antley’s] intent is the same as that with some of the people with the parks services. I think he wants to celebrate, while there are those who are commemorating, and I think it’s a vast difference,” she says.
She adds, “If we’re going to commemorate all of the folks who lost their lives via whatever side they were on, that’s one thing. But if you’re going to pretend that slavery wasn’t 98 percent, if not more, why the secession even happened then there is a problem.”
The NAACP president believes that one side effect of the controversy over the Secession Gala is that it taints the other events planned by the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historical Trust. “You cannot separate one from the other. It’s all of a part,” Scott says. “These people are literally saying, ‘We are going to have a big dance to celebrate the Confederacy.'”
For Scott, you cannot have an event commemorating the secession without noting the horrors of slavery. She adds, “If we tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, we have to include these black people, and if we include these black people and portray it accurately, then all the romanticism is taken from it. They cannot do that.”