SC Marks Secession Anniversary SOURCE: WCBD

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 11:15am

Officials insist it's a commemoration, not a celebration.

Symbols of the Secession were on display in Charleston Monday to mark the 150th anniversary of South Carolina being the first state to leave the Union.

On Meeting Street a new historical marker was unveiled to identify the former site of Institute Hall, where South Carolina delegates signed the Ordinance of Secession on December 20, 1860.

It was Charleston's largest pre-Civil War public space, with seats for 3,000 people.

At the Charleston Museum visitors got a chance to see the original Ordinance of Secession behind protective glass.

The South Carolina Historical Society also had a special display, the Secession banner which features South Carolina as the cornerstone for a new Southern Republic.

Officials who attended the unveiling were careful to call the sesquicentennial of the Secession a commemoration and not a celebration.

"The influence of slavery on the secession is undeniable," says Mayor Joe Riley who added, "For people to know where the ordinance was signed, where secession hall was is a responsibility, so I think it's very appropriate the placard is here."

Jannie Harriot, V.P. of the South Carolina African American Commission is one of the black members of the South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board.

"We can learn from our mistakes, and it was a mistake to thrust that many people into war, and for that many people to die," she says. "But had it not happened I may still be a slave, had it not happened, we would not have the South Carolina that we have today."

Another member of the Advisory Board is Randy Burbage, commander of the South Carolina division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

He says attempts by some people to label a gala Monday night with theatrical reenactment of the Ordinance of Secession signing as racist event is offensive.

"We've always extended a hand of friendship our black brothers and sisters we know and we feel like their history needs to be told as well, but we want ours to be told if we're going to have an inclusive society and inclusive observance of the sesquicentennial."

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