John O’Connor, Herald (Rock Hill, South Carolina), January 19, 2011
The S.C. NAACP said Tuesday it was not trying to hide a Statehouse statue of George Washington at its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally Monday.
The group has draped the founding father’s statue at previous rallies. It did so again this year, and questions quickly arose about whether Washington was being slighted.
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.
“What we had constructed was a background with a graphic to be placed on it,” James said. “We weren’t trying to obstruct anything.”
King Day organizers have built similar structures around the statue dating back at least to 2007, according to The State newspaper’s archives.