Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner to be renamed

Published: Aug. 24, 2016 at 1:08 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2016 at 9:28 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina's Democratic Party will no longer use the name of two former presidents who were slave owners in its name for an annual fundraiser.

The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, which is scheduled for Sept. 30, will be renamed after this year's event, according to a spokesman for the SCDP. It was named after former presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.

"Though Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson did play integral roles in the institutional development of the Democratic Party, our Executive Committee members — being careful not to judge historical figures solely by modern standards and thus taking full account of the range of views on the issue of slavery and treatment of Native Americans in American society during that era — decided that our annual dinner should be a reflection of the modern Democratic Party," SCDP Chairman Jaime Harrison said in a statement Tuesday night.

Sam Martin, who is a member of the Newberry County Democratic Party, said he gave a speech at the SCDP State Executive Committee meeting Tuesday night asking for the members to change the name of the dinner. This is an effort, he said, that has been ongoing for 20 years. Tuesday night, the change was approved unanimously.

"I was very surprised by the unanimous vote," Martin said, adding that keeping the name as Jefferson-Jackson Dinner has been offensive to African-American members of the state Democratic Party.

A SCDP spokesman said the executive committee will deliberate and select a new name in the coming months.

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