Adding insult to injury, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appeared to metaphorically thumb his nose at his Black critics in particular by signing the state’s voter suppression bill into law while seated in front of a painting of a “back-breaking” plantation that “thrived” from slave labor.
Kemp signed the bill Thursday evening amid national outcry at the restrictions the new law would disproportionately place on Black and brown people, who are now expected to have a much harder time voting than in past elections. The Georgia State Patrol even forcibly arrested Democratic State Rep. Park Cannon — a Black woman — for demanding transparency by knocking on Kemp’s closed office door while he was signing the bill.
So already, things were bad enough, optics-wise, at least.
But then Will Bunch, a national opinion writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, posted a Twitter thread on Friday morning bringing attention to the plantation painting hanging on Kemp’s office wall that was so prominently displayed while the governor signed the bill.
1. You've probably seen this picture of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his gaggle of white men signing the state's voter suppression law — the new, new Jim Crow. But there's a shocking angle to this story that you haven't heard. Sit down for this one… pic.twitter.com/edHPmyeoiu
— Will Bunch Sign Up For My Newsletter (@Will_Bunch) March 26, 2021
Bunch’s revelation at once underscored terror evoked by the sheer imagery of a southern plantation while also harkening back to a sordid time in American history when Black people did not have a right to vote in the first place.
The Twitter thread pointed to a website that provided more information about the painting, but not necessarily about the plantation. The painting, named “Brickhouse Road (Callaway PLNT),” is named for the infamous Calloway Plantation, which another website describes in more — but not full — detail.
According to the Washington-Wilkes Historical Foundation, the Calloway Plantation remains home to “The Brick House,” in which the Calloway family lived from 1869-1910 — “the time period when the plantation thrived.”
Also on the plantation grounds was the Dally Slave Cabin, quarters that were built in 1840. That is conspicuously the only reference to slavery on that website.
“The promotional sites gloss over the fact that by the time of the Civil War, the Callaway Plantation only thrived because of the back-breaking labor of more than 100 slaves who were held in cruel human bondage,” Bunch accurately points out in his Twitter thread.
Bunch cited a genealogy website that documented the oral life history of a woman who was born into slavery on the Calloway Plantation. Mariah Calloway’s “narrative” addressed some of the harsh realities at Calloway Plantation, including what was effectively a jail for slaves the master “had to punish” for trying to escape.
The bill was signed in front of the plantation painting at a time when there has been a purported racial reckoning and widespread efforts to remove symbols of white supremacy from government property. Georgia in particular has been resistant to removing such imagery, including Confederate monuments.
This story will be updated.
Vicious Reactions Dragging Brian 'Jim Crow' Kemp 'Resigning' After Rigging The Georgia Election
1. Keith Boykin
Source: 1 of 10
Too little, too late. Brian Kemp should have resigned as Georgia Secretary of State or recused himself long before he presided over his own election and tried to purge voters who might vote against him. https://t.co/ZAOfNWtzlT— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 8, 2018
2. Katrice Mines
Source: 2 of 10
Now Brian Kemp says he'll step down as Secretary of State... What in the world!? pic.twitter.com/KokWIRQUM6— Myvicariouslyfe (@MyVicariousLyfe) November 8, 2018
3. Lil Scottie
Source: 3 of 10
I know Brian Kemp did resign Secretary of State. Let’s see how this runoff plays out without them extra benefits. pic.twitter.com/Y8Ui1AiiT7— Scottie (@ijustaintshit) November 8, 2018
4. Maya Wiley
Source: 4 of 10
This is important for democracy. Brian Kemp used his office to support his own campaign. https://t.co/A91fZMuahy— Maya Wiley (@mayawiley) November 8, 2018
Source: 5 of 10
NAACP president: 'I wish we could bring criminal charges' against Brian Kemp over voting issues https://t.co/d1h2n79Ysh— NAACP (@NAACP) November 8, 2018
6. Dashua Ashfiord
Source: 6 of 10
Brian Kemp finally decides to resign as secretary of state. Should have been done before the election.— DASHUA ASHFIORD (@NUBIAN247) November 8, 2018
7. Michael Russell
Source: 7 of 10
The GOP refuses to compete for every Vote, so they must Cheat to Win. This is exactly what the GA GOP has done, through mass Voter Suppression. Brian Kemp finally Resigns before the Lawsuit forcing him to step down, goes to Court. #StaceyAbramsForGA2018 https://t.co/BXgfHf05Ta— Michael Russell (@SFLMiguel) November 8, 2018
8. J.C. WoodallSource: 8 of 10
9. Cathy MooreSource: 9 of 10
10. Anoa J. Changa
Source: 10 of 10
.@briankempga resigns after declaring himself the winner and obstructing democracy. Listening now to @nseufot of @NewGAProject raise demands to clarify when votes will be certified and the distinction between Emergency ballots and provisional ballots notably at Morehouse. #gapol pic.twitter.com/JHACFLmaHO— 🖤 Snappy Black Womxn 🖤 (@TheWayWithAnoa) November 8, 2018
Georgia’s Voter Suppression Bill Signed Into Law While Slave Plantation Painting Hangs In Background was originally published on newsone.com