Legislator Calls for End to Confederate Memorial Day
Rep. Boyd Brown says holiday is inefficient.
Today, public schools remain in session, municipal employees are at work, no stores are closed, but the S.C. General Assembly and thousands of state employees are on break, observing Confederate Memorial Day.
It's a problem for State Rep. Boyd Brown, D-Winnsboro, because legislative work is piling up.
"We have important issues that need our attention, but instead, the Legislature is taking a day off to observe an archaic state holiday," Brown said. "I’m not suggesting that South Carolinians stop celebrating the holiday, but I am asking that from this point forward, they observe it in their hearts and minds. State offices should be open today."
Nine states of the former Confederacy observe Confederate Memorial Day, albeit at different times. A handful of battle reenactments in South Carolina are planned today to note the death of Gen. Stonewall Jackson, who died in 1863.
Last week, political parties were forced to purge hundreds of candidates from South Carolina ballots after a court ruling found them ineligible due to a paperwork snafu. Brown said legislators need to be at the capitol working on a solution.
"Unlike some colleagues, I didn’t know any Confederate veterans personally, but I am sure they would appreciate us doing the job we were elected to do," said Brown, 26, one of the youngest legislators in state history. "Instead of doing our jobs, the Legislature is taking the day off to observe a holiday that most people don’t even know exists."
In South Carolina, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, the Civil War still stirs emotions. Brown won't face political fallout, however. He's opted not to seek another term in the state house.