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Best South Carolina Hates the Arts Moment 

Nikki Haley Cutting Marjory Wentworth’s Poem from Her Inauguration Ceremony

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Even though we South Carolinians — especially those of us who live here in the Lowcountry — know that the Palmetto State’s not really as backward as everyone else in the country thinks we are, we do unfortunately have those moments when we have to just hang our heads in shame. One of those happened just before Gov. Nikki Haley’s inauguration ceremony back in January, when the inauguration committee decided to cut Wentworth’s two-minute poem for time. The poem, coincidentally, referenced slavery, the Confederate flag, and the need to address the state and nation’s troubled history by moving forward, together. There’s no telling whether the poem was actually cut for time or because of its subject matter, but it is worth noting that Wentworth’s poems for the last three inaugurations were, as she said in an NPR interview about the incident, “safe.” Not surprisingly, Haley’s dismissal of the poem, titled “One River, One Boat,” gave it a much wider audience than it might have had. You can still read the poem on NPR’s Two-Way blog.


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