Haley, Scott Celebrate Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Speakers call on the strength of the civil rights leader during a time of change.
S.C. Republican leaders gathered to celebrate the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., before Monday night's SCGOP Debate.
Gov. Nikki Haley, Congressman Tim Scott, SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly and historian David Barton spoke to a full room at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center to honor King and highlight the legacy of change in South Carolina. The speakers each highlighted current struggles facing the Republican Party to the important efforts of the famous civil rights leader.
Despite the state's past, Connelly told the audience that the state has come a long way and now has two reputable leaders that work against South Carolina's negative reputation.
"We elected our first lady governor in the state of South Carolina's history, we elected our first African American congressman since the 1870's," Connelly said.
David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders, highlighted the historical difference between Republicans and Democrats. The historian led the crowd through a timeline demonstrating the role Democrats of the day played in perpetuating the existence of slavery in the United States. The other speakers also used the occasion to highlight party differences.
Haley, the state's first minority governor, recognized King his commitment to change and the faith and courage he maintained throughout the struggle to achieve it.
"We truly stand on his shoulders when we think about what we face going forward," Haley said.
The governor quickly transitioned from King's work for social change to the state's current struggle with unemployment and the struggle to get people back to work.
"Even with a high unemployment rate, look at what we're doing with jobs in the state of South Carolina," Haley said.
"All of these things show that we can. And all of these things show that we are diversifying."
Haley said the state continues to fight the federal government on issues like the National Labor Review Board and illegal immigration and vowed to continue to fight.
Rep. Scott said King's objective was not to create a place for people of any specific race to live peacefully.
"His objective was that America would come together and that we would focus more in the inside of a man, than we were on the outside," Scott said.
Scott told the crowd we should feel privileged to be part of the American story and to live in a time when people can come together peacefully.
"We can spend time on the coast knowing that our country is coming together like no time in the past," Scott said.
Scott quickly likened King's efforts to the current efforts of his party in fighting for a resolution to the nation's current economic situation.
"We can't be free when we have a $1.5 trillion annual deficit, there is no freedom in America for a black man, a white man, a Jew, a gentile, a Protestant or a Catholic. We can't be free," Scott said.