SC Legislative manual uses terms 'Negro' and 'scalawag' for some former officeholders

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The official manual of South Carolina's Legislature continues to label some of the state's former politicians as "Negro" or "scalawag" — apparent remnants of disgruntlement over Reconstruction that are drawing fresh scrutiny.

A spokesman for the state's lieutenant governor, who is eyeing a run for the top office, has sent a letter asking for an update. But civil rights leaders don't seem too bothered by the listings, which even led to portraits of the state's two black speakers being put on display in the house chamber.

Historians have long noted the people who took power after Reconstruction took great steps to discredit those who ran South Carolina immediately after the South lost the Civil War. For example, the term "scalawag" was used to refer to white Southerners who supported the federal government's actions in the region.

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Vernon Clayson - 6/3/2009

Negro is from the Latin, long the language of scholars and formal records, only petty nitpickers looking for non-existent problems would equate the word to something derogatory. It translates to black, it does not translate to the infamous N word. Would you prefer that the ancient Romans had used something less descriptive, perhaps something gradiant, not white, not brown, a little darker than brown, nearly dark as night but not quite??