COLUMBIA, S.C., May 10 (UPI) -- South Carolina state employees got a day off Tuesday as the state celebrated Confederate Memorial Day.
The state is one of four to have a day honoring soldiers who fell fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and the only one to do so May 10, The Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier reported. Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi mark the holiday April 25.
State Sen. Robert Ford, a black Charleston Democrat, sponsored the bill, which took effect in 2000, that made both Martin Luther King Day and Confederate Memorial Day state holidays.
"It looks like a bargaining tool to conspire with Confederates to get stuff done for black folks," he told the newspaper. "That is the result, but that is not why I did it. People should be willing to accept the Confederacy for what it is."
Dot Scott, president of the Charleston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, disagrees. She says the holiday costs the state $10 million, and black taxpayers funding a "holiday for our oppressors' descendants."
Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican who is of Asian Indian descent, has no interest in reopening the debate. A spokesman, Rob Godfrey, said it would be a "distraction."