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NAACP Covers George Washington Statue at MLK Day Event

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FW: Father of Our Country Boxed Away
NAACP Boxed George Washington Statue at MLK Birthday Event in Columbia, SC

Netlore Archive: Snapshot taken at the NAACP's 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in Columbia, SC shows a wooden box covering a statue of George Washington in front of the state house.

Image source: unknown, circulating via email

Description: Viral image
Circulating since: Jan. 2011
Status: Photo is authentic


Text example:
Email contributed by David H., Jan. 18, 2011:

FW: Father of Our Country Boxed Away

The annual MLK observance at the state house in Columbia SC had an interesting twist this year. The event is held on the north side steps of the statehouse. Prominent at that location is a large bronze statue of George Washington. This year, the NAACP constructed a "box" to conceal the Father of His Country from view so that participants would not be offended by his presence.


Analysis: I haven't (yet) been able to determine precisely who took the above snapshot, but eyewitness accounts and other photos of the Jan. 17, 2011 event confirm that it's authentic.

As stated above, the occasion was the NAACP's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally at the state house in Columbia, South Carolina. The participants' view of the statue of George Washington that stands in front of the capitol building was indeed obstructed by a three-sided wooden box during the ceremonies, a measure which has been roundly criticized by right-leaning political bloggers as disrespectful of the nation's first President.

Whereas the forwarded text asserts that the organizers of the event sought to "conceal" the statue of Washington "so that participants would not be offended by his presence," an NAACP spokesperson offered a different explanation, as reported by John O'Connor in the Jan. 18 edition of The State:

A three-sided structure that covered the front and sides of the statue was intended to display a rally graphic and serve as a photo-and-television backdrop for the event’s speakers, said S.C. NAACP executive director Dwight James. However, the graphic was not finished before the rally and could not be put in place.

Photos from the event showed a three-sided box with Washington’s statue visible only from behind the stage. “What we had constructed was a background with a graphic to be placed on it,” James said. “We weren’t trying to obstruct anything.”

The State reported that the statue has been similarly covered at MLK Day events going back at least four years, though most groups holding rallies at the state house leave it unobstructed.


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Sources and further reading:

NAACP Draws Complaints for Covering George Washington Statue on Martin Luther King Day
Fox News, 19 January 2011

No Insult to Washington Intended, Group Says
The State, 18 January 2011

Rally Draws 1,200 to State House
The State, 18 January 2011


Last updated 01/03/12

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