Welcome to “Some Other News from Around the Deep South,” my periodic look at news stories from the region that may not have gotten so much attention.
Despite the fact that the Civil War ended 152 years ago with the Confederate States’ defeat, a South Carolina ice cream shop owner is still having to fight to remove the Confederate flag on a tiny parcel of land in front of his shop in Orangeburg, a small town of about 13,000 people located fifty miles south of Columbia. Orangeburg is also home to two historically black colleges, South Carolina State University and Claflin University.
Last month, a drag queen named Ambrosia Starling donated some of her clothing to the Alabama Department of Archives & History after wearing the items while protesting former judge Roy Moore, a vehement opponent of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights. (Moore is now running for US Senate.) Additionally, a photographer donated more than two-thousand pictures of same-sex marriage events to augment the donation of the clothing items.
In Macon, the leadership of one of that city’s longest-standing churches has decided to accept the reality of same-sex marriage. The nearly two-hundred-year-old First Baptist Church of Christ is among a minority of Baptist churches in the South to defect from the larger Southern Baptist Convention organization. Its pastor acknowledged that it was a decision “that could yet split the membership.”
Two new museums will open in Jackson in December: The Museum of Mississippi and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Given the diversity of the state’s culture and the complexity of its history, the “conjoined” museums have gone through a long process in their making. The state legislature OKed $40 million back in 2011, and the museums are now about to open.
In October, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from a “dirt farmer” in Cut Off, Louisiana, who claimed he was not paid for dirt that was taken from his seventeen-acre “farm.” The man sells dirt for construction projects, and some of his dirt was used in a nearby levee. The Louisiana Supreme Court overturned a $164,000 judgment in his favor.