McConnell Confederate costume picture causes controversy - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

McConnell Confederate costume picture causes controversy

By Anthony Miller  bio | email | Twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It is an image of State Sen. Glenn McConnell that many have seen before.

In the photo, McConnell, the President Pro Tem of the Senate and Civil War buff, is decked out in a full Confederate costume paying tribute to a different time.

McConnell is flanked by two African-American re-enactors.  The image of the white man dressed in Confederate garb next to African-Americans dressed as slaves has offended some people.

The picture was taken at the board of directors meeting for the National Federation of Republican Woman. The pictures of McConnell were posted on Facebook and picked up by a South Carolina political blog.

Basket weaver Marilyn Dingle says it is much ado about nothing.

"I'm not offended because sometimes I dress like this lady [in the picture]," Dingle said while selling sweet grass baskets on Meeting Street in downtown Charleston.

On the other hand, Frank Bender of Goose Creek says as an elected official, McConnell should have used discretion.

"I don't think political people should be part of any of those types of pictures, gatherings or whatever if they're representing all the people," Bender said.

The woman in the picture is Sharon Cooper-Murray. She and her husband are also re-enactors. 

On Facebook, she describes herself as an advocate who "preserves, conserves and develops the heritage."

Bob Nash seems to agree.

"I think it's people reliving the past and enjoying what they're doing," Nash said.

North Charleston native Kawan Pauling isn't offended, he is just a bit upset with the GOP.

"Is it offensive? No, just typical. Not offensive at all. It's just what you expect from the Republican Party in South Carolina," Pauling said.

That said, the majority of people asked about the picture Wednesday said the picture isn't a big deal. 

"I don't really find it offensive, no I just think they're in character of the period," Beth Elmaleh-Stapleton said.

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