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You are here News Politics South Carolina GOP lawmaker McConnell defends picture with 'slave' re-enactors

South Carolina GOP lawmaker McConnell defends picture with 'slave' re-enactors

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Glenn McConnell Confederate dress-upSenate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell says a picture circulating on the Internet of him dressed in a Civil War-era military uniform alongside two African-Americans outfitted in period costumes was an innocent moment among friends — nothing more.

The picture, taken during a Republican women's conference in Charleston last week, however, has managed to capture national media attention. Some think the image callously evokes the state's slave-holding past.

McConnell, a Charleston Republican, is perhaps the most powerful lawmaker in the state, also chairing the pivotal Senate Judiciary Committee. McConnell also is widely known in the state as an avid Civil War enthusiast and re-enactor. His passionate advocacy for restoring the Confederate Hunley submarine is legendary and controversial.

McConnell insists the image is being misinterpreted. "It was a friendly photograph," McConnell said Wednesday. "It's a great statement as to how far this state has come." "Receive it in the spirit it was presented that evening," McConnell urged, adding there were no apologies to be made for the effort.

But others said the image evokes painful memories of historic oppression in this state. South Carolina once had the nation's second-largest slave port in Charleston, where the photo was snapped.

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