Catherine Templeton, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in South Carolina, displayed her ignorance in claiming to not know that one of her ancestors owned slaves, according to media reports. Sixty-six of them, in fact.
Reportedly, Templeton, a Trump supporter, had admitted to her family being slave owners during a speech at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, on Feb. 1. However, she also said she was “unaware” that her one ancestor owned dozens of slaves. The startling fact about her ancestor, Hiram Clark Brawley, having been a “substantial” slave owner in Chester County in 1860 didn’t seem to faze her much at all.
“This campaign is about the future, not about the past,” Templeton, 47, an attorney and former state agency director under former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, said in a Greenville News interview after a speech on Tuesday to the Upstate Republican Women at The Poinsett Club in Greenville.
She continued, “I embrace my family, warts and all.”
Templeton’s family pride is evident, but that’s not the issue that many Black folks may find troubling about her statements. It’s the fact that she added insult to injury in downplaying her family’s role in such a painful history for African-Americans.
Also considering that Templeton has been a public supporter of the Confederacy and is a descendant of a Confederate veteran, her credibility with Black voters may nearly be in the toilet. The Trump advocate also was up for a position as his labor secretary last year, the Post and Courier reported.
This latest bombshell about her negative family secrets and her attempt to “whitesplain” it without acknowledging that horrible past of slavery is undoubtedly problematic. Silence or ignorance on matters such as slavery and racism will just not be tolerated.