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  Spirit of the south still stands as South Carolinians mark 150 years of secession
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ContributorHomegrown Democrat 
Last EditedHomegrown Democrat  Dec 21, 2010 04:02pm
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AuthorEd Pilkington
MediaNewspaper - Guardian
News DateTuesday, December 21, 2010 08:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionThe organisers billed it as "the event of a lifetime" and, judging by the gaiety inside the Gaillard auditorium in Charleston, most of those present agreed. The women wore silk hoop skirts, petticoats and bloomers, their hair in ringlets; the men wore tuxedos and top hats, while some sported the grey uniform of the confederate army.

They do-si-doed around fake oak trees bedecked with the botanical mascot of the American South, Spanish moss. It was like stepping on to the film set of Gone With the Wind, minus the kissing.

For all the revelry, the gala marked a deeply sombre historical occasion. One hundred and fifty years ago, on 20 December 1860, a group of 169 men gathered in Charleston to sign the ordinance of secession.

Their defiant act made South Carolina the first state to split from the union. It escalated the conflict over slavery into a national crisis, and propelled the country into civil war.
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