We’re Number ONE!


Condé Nast names Charleston No. 1 U.S. city for fourth year in a row

Hold on to your sun hats, Charleston. Readers of Condé Nast Travelerhave voted Charleston the No. 1 city in the United States for the fourth year in a row.

“The people of Charleston are honored to once again be named Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice No. 1 Top U.S. City,” Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said in a press release this morning from the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “To be recognized for the fourth consecutive year is truly a testament to Charleston’s vibrant culture, genuine hospitality, and wonderful people who make it such a special place to both live and visit.” (From the Charleston City Paper)

One year ago my wife and I visited Charleston, South Carolina. Why not? Conde Nast ranked Charleston as the #1 City in the USA. It was the fourth consecutive year. Not only that, Charleston was ranked #2 in the World by Conde Nast Traveler 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards. Yes there were only eighty thousand voters, but still…why argue about Venice, Paris, San Francisco or whatever?

Charleston is known for its well-preserved architecture.
I agree, the architecture is magnificent.
Charleston is known for its celebrated restaurant community and mannerly people.
I agree, the food is incredible and the people are nice.
Charleston is known, according to Conde Nast, for its “rich history.”
YUK! That’s stretching things in my opinion.

The AME church, site of the devastating racial hate crime last week, has been a famous land mark since its inception. It was founded by a “free” black man, Denmark Vesey. Mr. Vesey won a lottery and was able to buy his freedom. He didn’t have enough money to buy his wife and child’s freedom. He founded the church in 1818 and it became the second largest AME congregation in the nation with 1848 members. The city’s white clergy supported the church but the city fathers would occasionally shut it down for violating slave laws regarding the length of their allowed services. Rumors started circulation about Denmark Vesey talking about a “rising” of slaves in 1822. Supposedly there was going to be thousands of slaves rebel and slay their owners and then sail off to Haiti and freedom.

No uprising happened but as the word leaked out about this supposed plot, Vesey and five slaves were arrested and found guilty by a secret court appointed by the City of Charleston. They were hanged in July of 1822. The town folk were not satisfied and pressured the City to arrest more slaves. The city appointed a group of Magistrates and Freeholders and they investigated further and arrested another 131 men. They hung 35, including Vesey, convicted 67 of conspiracy, and deported 31 men, including Vesey’s son.

A report was released afterwards called “An Official Report of the Trials of Sundry Negroes.” Unfortunately there wasn’t a shred of evidence about the rebellion, just the rumors.

Next month I’m going back to Nashville, Tennessee, another one of my favorite cities to visit. I’ll be driving south from Indiana on Interstate 65. Right on I-65, just outside Nashville, this ridiculous scene greets each driver.

Nathan Bedford Forest2

Yes there are 13 Confederate Flags surrounding that very ugly sculpture. The ugly guy on the horse is supposed to be the famous Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forest. His mother wouldn’t recognize him.

Nathan Bedford Forrest 4

The sculptor was by a white supremacist leader who was also a lawyer. Jack Kershaw was the lawyer for James Earl Ray, killer of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The flags and the ugly guy on the horse are on private property so the embarrassment of Nashville about this place can possibly be forgiven.  You see, Nathan Bedford Forrest was also famous for being a founder and the very first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. As much a symbol of hatred and racism as their beloved Confederate Flag.

But Nathan is also honored in many more Tennessee places that could remove his name and likeness.
LIKE HERE:                                                                AND HERE:

Nathan Bedford Forest State Park        Nathan Bedford Forest High

Basically these two cities and many more across the SOUTH hang on to their statues, flags, license plates and other memorabilia that cause great pain for a large segment of our population. I think the rest of our country is trying to send them hints that it’s time to be nice, thoughtful and respectful.

Finally I have to give my own tourist report of Charleston and Nashville.
They are both places where you learn to walk very slow in the summertime. The humidity is overwhelming. You will feel your sweat pouring down your back and legs and with each breath you take you swear you are sucking in a small creek (pronounced crik).

My advice: Go in the late fall, the weather and the cities are beautiful. Just be aware that the white guys who run most of the South have their own ideas about States’ Rights, their own ideas of history and what the Confederate Flag stands for.

John Quincy Adams

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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