CHARLESTON More than 100 protesters gathered carrying signs decrying racism and the Confederacy at a ball tonight marking the 150th anniversary of South Carolina signing the documents that plunged the nation into civil war.
Organizers of the event, including the Sons of Confederate Veterans, met with the media earlier Monday defending the gala. They stressed the 400 ticketbuyers, who are coming from all of the country, are not celebrating slavery but are honoring the courage of the men who followed their convictions in severing ties with the United States.
The event drew protests when it was learned attendees will dress in period costumes and will enjoy a reenactment of the signing of the Articles of Secession. Those documents showed South Carolinas primary reason for leaving the union was over Northern states opposition to slavery and their refusal to return fugitive slaves.
Event organizers said while there will be a re-enactment of the signing, there will not be African American re-enactors present posing as the slaves who were present. They also said four state lawmakers, all Republicans, were planning to attend, including Senate President Glenn McConnell.
The NAACP gathered on the steps of the Gaillard Auditorium as the costumed ball attendees made their way inside. Protesters marched from the auditorium to Morris Brown AME Church.