[image-1] Sen. Tim Scott will deliver the keynote speech at the second annual Black History Month dinner hosted by the Charleston County Republican Party.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson — and one of the longest-serving officials in the revolving door that is the Trump administration —  was originally scheduled to give the speech, but he pulled out last week due to “scheduling conflicts.”

The dinner is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. in the Citadel’s Holliday Alumni Center. It is co-hosted by the military college’s Republican Society, which invited former Trump strategist Steve Bannon to Charleston back in 2017.

The event will honor black Charlestonians of varying political affiliation. According to a Facebook event page, the honorees are Ken Battle, commissioner for South Carolina Minority Affairs; Eric Mack, chairman of the Charleston County School Board; County Probate Judge Tamara C. Curry; Art Gilliard, director of Art Forms & Theatre Concepts; and Samuel Rivers Jr., a former state representative.

“It’s all local people representing the best in the judiciary, government, and arts,” said Charleston County Republican Party chair Larry Kobrosky. “And having Tim, who grew up here and is now one of the 100 most powerful people in the country, it’s all pretty exciting. It all kind of shaped up in the last day.”

Scott is one of only two black members of South Carolina’s black congressional delegation, along with Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn. He is also the first black senator from any Southern state since 1881.

In a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, Scott called on his fellow Republicans to call out racism after Iowa Congressman Steve King asked in a New York Times interview, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

“Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said,” Scott wrote.

Friday’s dinner will be the local party’s second annual Black History Month celebration. Last year’s inaugural event honored the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Alveda King. She is known for her conservative views on abortion and LGBTQ rights and for her support of President Trump.
[content-1] “I wanted to start something that was special, and I hope it continues,” said Kobrosky, whose term ends in April. “Now we have 300 people there, and they’re hearing people who deserve to be revered, and that’s how you communicate. No community is monolithic.”

Rev. Eric Manning of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church will deliver closing remarks.

Tickets are on sale now on Eventbrite. As of Tuesday afternoon, only 12 general admission tickets remained for $75 each. The dinner is black tie optional.