Dance, protests to mark 150 years since SC left US

COLUMBIA, SC (AP/WCSC) - Exactly 150 years after South Carolina became the first state to leave the United States, a group whose purpose is to preserve Confederate history is holding a dance in Charleston.

The NAACP plans to protest Monday night's "Secession Ball." Leaders of the civil rights group have said it makes no sense to honor men who committed treason in order to maintain a system that kept black men and woman in bondage as slaves.

But organizers of the ball say their intention is to honor men who were willing to die to protect their vision of states' rights and what this nation was supposed to be.

The Secession Ball is happening just blocks from where 169 men voted unanimously 150 years ago to leave the United States.

A protest rally is scheduled for 4:30pm at Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street and the group will march past the Gaillard Auditorium to Morris Brown AME Church on Morris Street.

Meanwhile, a new historical marker will identify the site where South Carolina delegates signed the Ordinance of Secession. The marker was unveiled Monday in downtown Charleston, where Institute Hall once stood.

The marker identifies what was Charleston's largest pre-Civil War public space, with seats for 3,000 people. It hosted the 1860 Democratic national convention, which split when Southern delegates wanted to adopt a party platform protecting slavery.

It was also where the Ordinance of Secession was signed, following the election of Republican President Abraham Lincoln. The building was destroyed a year later by a fire that burned much of the city.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. WCSC contributed to this report. (492) AP Metadata apcategory: n apstatecode: scb dukey: SC Secession Ball apkeyword: SC Secession Ball hedline: Dance, protests to mark 150 years since SC left US Unique Key: Dance, protests to mark 150 years since SC left US Doc ID: D9K7P3UO0