Former Slave Honored For Service to Confederacy
The Sons of Confederate Veterans honored Henry Craig on Sunday at a service held in the Craig Family Cemetery near the Old Pickens Presbyterian Church.
At a Feb. 5 service held in the Craig Family Cemetery near the Old Pickens Presbyterian Church, the Sons of Confederate Veterans honored former slave Henry Craig for his service to the Confederacy during the War Between the States.
Representing the Colonel Joseph Norton Camp 45 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, past commander Harry B. Mays, Jr. placed a marker and a Confederate flag on Craig’s grave during the service. Confederate reenactors honored Craig with a gun salute.
Other participants in the service included James R. Sloan, commander of the Colonel Joseph Norton Camp 45, the 16th Regiment Color Guard, Lee Keese, Luther Lyle, Kevin Adams, the Honorable R. Daniel Day, and Al Robinson. Henry Craig, born a slave in the 1840s, served the Craig family of Pickens and Oconee counties his entire life. When the Craig sons joined Orr’s First South Carolina Rifles in 1861, Henry went to war with them.
On Aug. 6, 1864, John Craig was wounded at Gravely Hill, Virginia, and ultimately lost his arm. Henry brought his master and childhood friend back to Pickens. He remained with the Craig family even after he was freed from slavery. He died in 1927 and is buried in the Craig Family Cemetery at the Old Pickens Courthouse.
At the service honoring Craig, South Carolina State Sen. Robert Ford spoke about his ongoing desire to honor the heritage of all people and ultimately improve race relations. Ford, an African American, represents District 42 in Charleston,
As a young man, Ford worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the civil rights movement. After becoming a state senator, he attempted to have the Confederate flag removed from the South Carolina State House. He was instrumental in the eventual compromise that moved the flag to the Confederate Soldiers’ Monument on the statehouse grounds. He was also responsible for the passage of a bill that paired Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Confederate Memorial Day as paid holidays for state workers.
Other dignitaries attending the service were Senators Thomas Alexander, Larry Martin and Danny Verdin, Rep. Bill Whitmire, and the Honorable Alex McCauley.
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