[again, I yield space to Professor Christopher Chambers, as I cannot trust myself to be anything but brutal in my assessment of Rep. Tim Scott, another man of color who decries this state, and is thus annointed the way the Judas Goat Heyward Shepherd was feted, whilst I was devoured by hogs after Rev. John Brown surrendered in the Fire House.—D.N.]
The man in the old photo is Thomas E. Miller, Republican (as in post-Reconstruction, not Condi Rice ) member of the House of Representatives, 7th district, 1890-92. Like Joseph Rainey before him, he was defeated by Klan and “Red Shirt” violence, as well, as total black voter disenfranchisement that made GOP voter suppression tactics in 2008 and 2012 look like Kindergarten. He was a graduate of an HBCU, Lincoln University, and, with the ironic support of Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman, the archtype of white demagogic racism that swept out Reconstruction and swept in Jim Crow, organized South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC. Tillman is a predecessor of Nikki Haley as governor of South Carolina. He was also a US Senator, in DeMint’s and sadly, Fritz Hollings’ old chair. He was also, in a way, the man who laid the spikes to the rails that flung this choo-choo named Tim Scott into the limelight.
And by the way, Thomas E. Miller was my ancestor on my maternal grandmother’s side. He was a light skinned black man who defied the racists of his time, and loved his Palmetto State. Just as Rainey had. And as I talk to my gray haired, wax-paper skin relatives in Orangeburg and Beaufort, they tell me that Tim Scott is no Tom Miller, no Joseph Rainey. More kith and kin to DeMint…and Tillman’s legacy. Thank you, Nikki Haley.
This man Scott, who refuses to sit with the Congressional Black Caucus for the same reason Allen West did not, “because I am not about race” fits the narrative of DeMint’s, thus Tillman’s legacy beautifully. He is cipher and lapdog. He is “faithful slave,” as was Heyward Shepherd. His candidacy was vetted by the Tea Party, by James Dobson, who recently blamed the Sandy Hook/Newtown child massacre on gay marriage, no God in public schools and unions, and by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads campaign. He has shrugged away the bitter racist ploys used in 2012 against Barack Obama, even though his fellow Republican Colin Powell has called him out by name. No, he is not the circus clownshow that was Allen West. He’s more polished, savvy, sly. In fanboy nerd nomenclature, if West was a Klingon, then Scott’s a Romulan. And he’s certainly no Tom Miller, or Joseph Rainey. Would those men even look him in the eye if their spirits rose from history, as Mr. Newby’s has for this digital platform. Even a mere gloss of their writings, public and private, indicate—hell no. And they lived a century and more ago.
In my relatives’ view, one theme pervades all of the statements, and it’s embodied in the statement of my dad, ironically. He is Jamaican, and often didn’t relate to anything about my mother’s family heritage. But he did say this about such annointed black figureheads, vessels, Quislings. “Chris, even the Confederacy had it’s coons.”
Now the children of the Confederacy and the 1%, truly have a glittering coon to showcase, in the cradle of the South’s myth, the Palmetto. Home of Ben Tillman, home of Tom Miller. I’m so sorry, Tom. So damn sorry…