Two men from Charleston
By Lucius Gantt
Seems like everyone on social media has posted something about the tragic murders of Black church goers in Charleston, S.C.
But, as always, The Gantt Report will provide a perspective that so-called Black leaders, so-called Black benefactors, so-called Black community supporters and so-called friends of exploited, oppressed and oftentimes murdered Black people don’t want you to hear!
South Carolina has long been the “role model” of how states should mistreat and disrespect Black people.
It is easy for the Negro media, not Black media, to crack jokes about the “Hey-TL”, to laugh about Cleveland, Ohio to make fun of Baltimore, Md. and to clown on various Texas cities like Houston.
Instead of talking stupid about the geographical areas where some Black people live, someone should try to explain why cities like Charleston is the way it is and the way it will always be until all of the people in South Carolina rise up and oppose the city’s unjust ways and it’s racist historical traditions.
The media sources that you love will suggest how unusual it is for some Carolina whites to believe that “Blacks want to take over” or that “Blacks rape white women.”
That kind of mentality has permeated South Carolina ever since there was a South Carolina!
Perhaps I am the man I am and I write the way I write because my own ancestry takes me via my ancestors right back to South and North Carolina.
If you don’t know, there are many Gantts in the Carolinas. I have even attended Gantt Family Reunions in South Carolina.
But I think the feelings, motivations and the current treatment of Blacks in South Carolina and, in many ways, in the United States can be seen by looking at the lives of two very different South Carolina men. One man is Black and one is white.
Let’s start with the Black guy and his connection to the City of Charleston, the killing of Blacks and whites and also the very church where nine Blacks were murdered by a white racist.
Denmark Vesey, known as Telemaque while enslaved, (1767 – July 2, 1822) was a free Black and former slave in Charleston who is noted for his plan for “the rising,” a major slave revolt in 1822; by some accounts, it would have involved thousands of slaves in the city and others on plantations miles away. A skilled carpenter, Vesey had won a lottery and purchased his freedom at age 32 in 1799. He had a good business and a family, but was not able to buy his wife and children out of slavery. Vesey became active in the Second Presbyterian Church; in 1818 he was among the founders of an AME Church in the city, which later became the Emanuel AME Church. The AME Church was supported by white clergy in the city and rapidly attracted 1,848 members, making this the second-largest AME congregation in the nation. City officials twice closed it for violating slave laws related to times and purpose of gatherings.
Vesey and his followers were said to be planning to kill slaveholders in Charleston, liberate the slaves, and sail to the Black Republic of Haiti for refuge. Word of the plan was leaked, and city officials had a militia arrest the plot’s leaders and many suspected followers in June before the rising could begin. Not one white person was killed or injured. Vesey and five slaves were among the first group of men rapidly judged guilty by the secret proceedings of a city-appointed Court and condemned to death; they were executed by hanging on July 2.
Vesey and his followers were not just interested in killing slaveholders. They planned on killing every white person they ran across in South Carolina! Their objective was not to “rape” white women in South Carolina. They were instructed to kill every white man, woman and child!
Slavery time snitches and informants, just like the ones of today, couldn’t wait to rat on Vesey and run to ‘massa’ and tell them about Vesey’s plans.
Don’t look for any holidays or schools or streets named after Vesey in South Carolina or anywhere else in America. In fact, I don’t know anybody, anywhere that can produce a picture of Denmark Vesey or even a drawing of the famous South Carolinian!
But everywhere you look you can see something in remembrance of Mr. Calhoun! Cities are named after him, counties are named after him and, of course, streets and schools everywhere carry the name of this South Carolinian to this very day.
John Caldwell Calhoun (March 18, 1782 – March 31, 1850) was a leading American politician and political theorist during the first half of the 19th century. Hailing from South Carolina, Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent of a strong national government. He is best known for his intense and original defense of slavery as something positive.
Calhoun built his reputation as a political theorist by his redefinition of republicanism to include approval of slavery and minority rights, with the Southern States the minority in question. To protect minority rights against majority rule, he called for a “concurrent majority” whereby the minority could sometimes block offensive proposals that a State felt infringed on their sovereign power. Calhoun’s defense of slavery became defunct, but his concept of concurrent majority, whereby a minority (not a person but a governmental “state minority”) has the right to object to or even veto hostile legislation directed against it, has been cited by other advocates of the rights of minorities. Calhoun asserted that Southern whites, outnumbered in the United States by voters of the more densely populated Northern states, were one such minority deserving special protection in the legislature. Calhoun also saw the increasing population disparity to be the result of corrupt northern politics.
Calhoun died eleven years before the start of the American Civil War, but he was an outspoken proponent of the institution of slavery, which he defended as a “positive good” rather than as a “necessary evil”. His rhetorical defense of slavery was partially responsible for escalating Southern threats of secession in the face of mounting abolitionist sentiment in the North.
Calhoun led the pro-slavery faction in the U.S. Senate in the 1830s and 1840s, opposing both abolitionism and attempts to limit the expansion of slavery into the western territories. He was a major advocate of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, which required the co-operation of local law enforcement officials in free states to return escaped slaves.
Flourishing in a world in which slaveholding was a badge of civilization, Calhoun saw little reason to question its morality as an adult. He never visited Europe. Calhoun believed that the spread of slavery into the back country of his own state improved public morals by ridding the countryside of the shiftless poor whites who had once held the region back. He further believed that slavery instilled in the whites who remained a code of honor that blunted the disruptive potential of private gain and fostered the civic-mindedness that lay near the core of the republican creed. From such a standpoint, the expansion of slavery into the backcountry decreased the likelihood for social conflict and postponed the declension when money would become the only measure of self-worth, as had happened in New England. Calhoun was thus firmly convinced that slavery was the key to the success of the American dream.
Calhoun taught his family and friends why Blacks should be enslaved, exploited and oppressed but, you tell me, who are news people and the Black talk show people and descendants of South Carolina slave revolters that taught their families and friends why they should rise up, rebel and fight against the racism and slave master mentality that exists right this very day in South Carolina?
Oh well, it is no surprise to me that worshipers at the church in South Carolina that had Vesey as one of its founders was the place chosen by a white racist to be the place where he would murder innocent Black people.
Comparatively speaking, South Carolinian slave master Gantt must have been OK as slave masters were seen during slavery days because there are not too many of us Black Gantts. My ancestors from that state lived long enough to instill in many “Black Gantts” the courage to fight for what is right.
Most of us are church people like Denmark Vesey was but we know oftentimes “proper limits” might have to be exceeded in order to right a wrong in South Carolina or in any other place in the world.
Sometimes marching and praying might not be all that needs to be done.
Sometimes we have to do more than beg governments and politicians to take down confederate flags. Sometimes we even have to defend our people, our churches and our communities! (Buy Gantt’s latest book, Beast Too: Dead Man Writing on Amazon.com and from bookstores everywhere. Contact Lucius at www.allworldconsultants.net. And, if you want to, ”Like” The Gantt Report page on Facebook.)