I have never eaten at Maurice’s Piggie Park Barbecue in South Carolina. I refused to buy their BBQ products which proliferated on store shelves. For you Carolina newcomers, back in 2000 the Confederate flag controversy raged in South Carolina. This was long before Bree Newsome climbed atop a flag pole and earned national attention for removing the flag. No, this controversy predates Newsome’s courageous act.
In 2000, under pressure from NAACP boycotts and political common sense, the state legislature removed the flag from the state Capitol and put t on the state house ground. In retaliation, owner Maurice Bessinger raised the Confederate flags over all of his barbecue restaurants. He incorporated the confederate flag on the company logo.
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I do not intentionally give my money to racist. Bessinger was a known racist. He reportedly posted signs on his restaurant doors saying blacks weren’t welcome. In 1964, he lost a Supreme Court case in which he refused to serve black patrons.
Today, Charlotte Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis wrote a great article about how although Bessinger died two years ago, his children are still trying to erase the stain of racism that taints the brand. It is a fantastic read, and a reminder that the bitter racism that was a hallmark of the South still linger today.
I applaud Bessinger’s children for trying acknowledging their father’s racism and trying to move forward. I still won’t spend my money there. Regardless of whether you decide to eat at Maurice’s, do yourself a favor and read Purvis’ story. It will give you a little insight into how deep the wound of racism cuts, and how some wounds may never heal.