Gov. Brian Kemp signs restrictive Georgia voting bill into law in front of painting of former plantation grounds

  • Kemp signed Georgia’s electoral law against the backdrop of former plantations.
  • The link was made by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch.
  • Democrats have criticized the new law as a throwback to the Jim Crow era targeting black voters.

Georgia GOP Governor Brian Kemp signed Law SB 202, the state’s comprehensive and highly controversial electoral law, on Thursday against the backdrop of a former slave plantation. This stems from a historical connection made by columnist Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The reveal comes as leaders such as President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia and former Georgia State House minority leader Stacey Abrams, civil rights groups and national democratic organizations join forces to protest the newly signed bill has been criticized for that it was targeting the large black electorate of the state.

Kemp signed the bill in his private office while surrounded by six GOP lawmakers. In the background was a painting entitled “Brickhouse Road – Callaway PLNT” by the Siberian-born artist Olessia Maximenko. The site of the Callaway Plantation in Wilkes County, in the northeastern part of the state between Athens and Augusta, appears to be shown in the painting.

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The plantation was founded with Job Callaway building a log cabin in 1785 and eventually became a 3,000-acre plantation, according to the Washington-Wilkes Historical Foundation.

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In 1869, after the end of the Civil War, the brick house shown in the painting was completed.

The site is now “a 56 hectare historical restoration project,” which “offers a glimpse into the past era of plantations in the agricultural south,” according to the foundation. In one document, the Georgia Council for the Arts describes a partnership with the governor’s office to display “354 works of art” in the executive offices of the State Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion to “highlight the diversity and uniqueness of communities and natural terrain across Georgia capture how they are seen, explored and represented across the country. ” Artist eye. “- Will Bunch Sign up for my newsletter (@Will_Bunch) March 26, 2021

Kemp, who approved the much-criticized nomination against the backdrop of such images, was called on by Bunch, who gained additional prominence after MP Park Cannon, a black woman, was arrested for standing at the governor’s door while signing the private bill had knocked.

“The advertising pages gloss over the fact that the Callaway Plantation flourished during the Civil War thanks to the groundbreaking work of at least 100 enslaved people and perhaps many more kept in cruel human bondage,” Bunch wrote in his column.

He added, “The Callaway Plantation is a memorial to Georgia’s history of brutal white supremacy that unfortunately did not go away when enslaved people were emancipated in 1865. In the 1890s, the Georgian white ruling class enacted a series of stern Jim-Crows – Laws segregating all public institutions and preventing most blacks from voting. “

Biden on Friday slammed the new law as an “blatant attack on the constitution” and went on to describe it as “Jim Crow in the 21st century”.

The new law includes provisions that limit the use of dropboxes, shorten the time between general and runoff elections, block the use of mobile voting carts, and criminalize the distribution of water or food to voters queuing in constituencies.

Both in the 2020 primaries and in the early voting periods, many voters, especially in largely black areas in Atlanta, had to endure long queues to be able to vote. Kemp responded to Biden’s comments, claiming that “it is obvious” that the president did not read the bill.

“It is nothing ‘Jim Crow’ to ask for a photo or state-issued ID to vote by postal vote – every Georgian voter must do so when they vote in person,” he said in a statement. “President Biden, the left and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box.”

Insider reached out to Kemp’s office for comment.

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