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SC Dems will drop Jefferson and Jackson from annual dinner

SC Democratic chairman Jaime Harrison
SC Democratic chairman Jaime Harrison tdominick@thestate.com

South Carolina Democrats are ditching two of the party’s founding members from the name of its annual party fundraiser.

The executive committee of the SC Democratic Party voted Tuesday night to rename the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, according toa party press release. The event is named after former presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.

“The change will take effect after the upcoming Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on September 30,” party chairman Jaime Harrison said in the statement, meaning this year’s fundraiser will still bear the former presidents’ names – and will be South Carolina’s last Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

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“In the weeks and months following, the State Executive Committee will be soliciting suggestions from our county parties and will deliberate and decide on a new name for the dinner that more accurately reflects the ideals of our party.”

Jefferson and Jackson are considered key figures not only in early American history but in the development of the modern Democratic Party, and Democratic officials have longed proudly claimed both men as part of the party’s legacy.

But parts of their legacy have become controversial in the modern Democratic Party. Both men were large slaveowners, and Jackson pursued an active policy of removing Native Americans from their traditional territories in the eastern U.S., forcing them to move westward on what became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

Last year, the state Democratic parties in both Georgia and Connecticut also voted to remove Jackson and Jefferson’s names from their annual fundraising dinners.

“(B)eing 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,” Harrison said, “(the executive committee) decided that our annual dinner should be a reflection of the modern Democratic Party.”

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