1. You've probably seen this picture of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his gaggle of white men signing the state's voter suppression law -- the new, new Jim Crow. But there's a shocking angle to this story that you haven't heard. Sit down for this one...
2. Notice the antebellum-style portrait behind Kemp as he signs the suppression law? Thanks to Twitter crowdsourcing and particularly @TheSeaFarmer, I can report the measure to limit Black voting was signed under the image of a notorious slave plantation in Wilkes County, GA
3. If you scroll about halfway down this PDF link, you can see that the painting is clearly "Brickhouse Road -- Callaway PLNT" (PLNT for "Plantation...subtle, right?) by artist Olessia Maximenko from Wilkes County, GA gaarts.org/wp-content/upl…
4. Today, the Callaway Plantation is a 56-acre historic site where -- as the ExploreGeorgia website cheerily notes -- tourists can get "a glimpse into the by-gone era of working plantations in the agricultural South." exploregeorgia.org/washington/ent…
5. The promotional sites gloss over the fact that by the time of the Civil War, the Callaway Plantation only thrived because of the back-breaking labor of more than 100 slaves who were held in cruel human bondage
6. The harsh reality of life for slaves in the era of the Callaway Plantation is captured in this oral-history "slave narrative" of Mariah Callaway, a woman who was born into slavery on the plantation in 1852. In her account, she notes that... accessgenealogy.com/georgia/slave-…
7. "...[T]here were some slaves who were unruly; so the master built a house off to itself and called it the Willis jail. Here he would keep those whom he had to punish. I have known some slaves to run away on other plantations and the hounds would bite plugs out of their legs.”
8. Visitors today to the Callaway Plantation say this legacy of inhumanity is downplayed. One wrote on Trip Advisor the slave cabin "is hidden in some trees and mentioned as an afterthought and something you can go to and look at yourself." en.tripadvisor.com.hk/ShowUserReview…
9. In short, the Callaway Plantation is a monument to Georgia's history of brutal white supremacy that unfortunately didn't disappear when Mariah Callaway and the other slaves were emancipated in 1865. By the 1890s, Georgia's white ruling class...
10. ...enacted a series of harsh Jim Crow laws to segregate all public facilities and block Black people from voting. The state, for all of Atlanta's "Too Busy To Hate" bluster, was a KKK hotbed in the 1960s' civil rights era, and in the 1980s...
11. Georgia blazed a trail into the new era of mass incarceration and voter suppression, epitomized by Brian Kemp and his purges of legitimate voters and other Jim Crow-inspired tactics. In 2021, the irony...
12. ...of Kemp signing this bill -- that makes it illegal to give water to voters waiting on the sometimes 10-hour lines that state policies create in mostly Black precincts -- under the image of a brutal slave plantation is almost too much to bear.
13. The symbolism is no accident. Brian Kemp and his white henchmen have created an image for our times, in working to continue a tradition of inhumanity and white supremacy that now spans centuries, from the human bondage...
14... that took place behind the placid scenery of Brickhouse Road in Wilkes County, to the suppression now hidden behind a phony facade of "voter integrity." This legacy is a crime against humanity, and it cannot stand - 30 -
OK, everybody, by popular demand, I funnelled all of my outrage into an instant column (on my day off, no less). Georgia is an all-hands-on-deck crisis for our democracy. Please help me spread the word inquirer.com/opinion/georgi…
Here's an excerpt from the new column version
Also, the column corrects one error from the haste of my initial tweet thread. The former enslaved woman, named Mariah Callaway, actually worked on a different nearby plantation in Wilkes County, although she clearly speaks to conditions in the area at that time

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More from @Will_Bunch

Sep 29
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