A candidate running to the right of South Carolina's governor in the Republican primary on a Southern Pride platform says she just now learned that her ancestors were major slaveholders.
Catherine Templeton is an attorney and former member of Nikki Haley's cabinet who is running to unseat Haley's successor, Henry McMaster. She's moving right as she runs: She now opposes abortion even in the case of incest.
In a state which removed Confederate monuments after white nationalist Dylann Roof massacred nine people at a black church, she's also waving the stars and bars.
“I’m proud of the Confederacy,” she told Pickens County Republicans, in explaining why she opposed removing Confederate statues from the state.
“I don’t think there’s anything else to say about it,” she said at the meeting. “You cannot rewrite history. I don’t care whose feelings it hurts. You cannot rewrite history."
But Templeton might not know as much history as she suggests. On February 1, Templeton bragged that her family engaged in an armed insurrection on principle.
“I think it’s important to note that my family didn’t fight because we had slaves,” she said. “My family fought because the federal government was trying to tell us how to live. We didn’t need them to tell us how to live way back then, and we don’t need them to tell us how to live today.”
However, census records unearthed by the Greenville News show that her ancestor, Hiram Clark Brawley, owned 66 human beings, which were valued at $32,000. That's about $900,000 in today’s dollars. The family managed the Plantation after his death and his son joined the South Carolina army during the Civil War.
The revelation that a proud neo-Confederate's ancestors also profited handsomely from slavery was not shocking to black leaders in the state.
“I don’t think she understands the diversity we have in South Carolina and that we’re not all a bunch of flag-waving yahoos,” said a local black church leader, Joe Darby. “When you elevate the Confederacy, you stomp on the memories of those who were subjugated, the slaves. She’s stomping on my ancestors."
Templeton posted a self-pitying selfie video to Twitter.
"Yesterday, the Democratic Party called me a white supremacist. Because I support president Trump? Or because I fight for Democratic ideals?"
Let's see what happens when you call me and my friends racist... https://t.co/4NaGpBq6bI— Catherine Templeton (@Catherine Templeton)1510191895.0