The Daily Gamecock

South Carolina NAACP hosts 'King Day at the Dome' parade, discusses racial issues

The NAACP chapter of South Carolina held its "Kings Day at the Dome" event on Jan. 16, 2023. The day started early with a prayer service at Zion Baptist Church, bringing in religious leaders from across the state. After the service, members from the NAACP, the Free Masons, Shriners, United Campus Workers and other civil rights groups marched towards the South Carolina Statehouse where speakers honored Martin Luther King Jr. and called for continued action toward the fight for equality.

The South Carolina NAACP branch held its annual "King Day at the Dome" at the Statehouse on Monday to bring awareness to racial issues in South Carolina and celebrate Martin Luther King. Jr. Day.

This the first time in two years the event was held in person, due to being postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event hosted speakers, such as Courtney McClain, president of the NAACP S.C. State Conference Youth and College Division, and Rep. Bennie C. Thompson (D-Miss), a board member of the Jan. 6 House Committee. Other organizations that were present at the event included the Party of Campus Workers and members of the Unitarian Universality Congregation of Columbia.

Speakers touched on topics of hardships from across the state, including the gerrymandering of South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, the death penalty and the Heritage Act.

The state's 1st Congressional District was ruled to be redrawn earlier this month by the state supreme court, citing discrimination against Black voters in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

South Carolina Rep. and chairman of the S.C. Black caucus Ivory Thigpen (D-Richland) warned about efforts to upend democracy like the 1st Congressional District gerrymandering. 

“When our courts have to be the safety net for the ignorance that has passed called legislation in this very house, which is the people's house — all of the people's house — the water is receding,” state Thigpen said.

McClain opened her speech by shouting “no justice, no peace,” before going on to address the Heritage Act and Richard Moore, a South Carolina inmate facing the death penalty by firing squad for the murder and robbery of a convenience store clerk in Spartanburg.

"Why are our Black children on campuses that have statues named after confederates, confederates, confederates everywhere?” McClain said while pointing at Statehouse monuments. “They want to pass the Heritage Act, I say repeal it.”

The Statehouse campus houses multiple monuments dedicated to Confederate heroes, including Ben Ryan Tillman, Wade Hampton III and a monument to the confederate dead, all of whom have statues that McClain proceeded to point toward during her speech. McClain also spoke on injustice encouraged by legal firing squad in South Carolina.

“We are fighting to save Richard Moore down at the Statehouse,” McClain said. "We need to stop the death penalty. We need to get everyone off of death row because this is not justice.

Rep. Thompson praised the level of activism in South Carolina, inspiring him to mobilize more people back home.

“I have a message to carry back to Mississippi,” Thompson said, “We need to get our act together because those folk in South Carolina got it going on.” 

USC students were also among the crowd at "King Day at the Dome" to honor King's legacy. Graduate social work and public health student Mikayla Turner said she was marching to help remind others of the importance of King's actions.

“I'm marching to celebrate and commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and remember all he's done for us and the path he paved for us today in equality and justice,” Turner said. 


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