Maurice’s Gourmet Barbeque’s Maurice Bessinger, who hoisted the stars and bars over his nine Columbia-area restaurants on the day, almost a decade ago, when South Carolina permanently lowered the Confederate flag from its capitol dome, told a local television station this week that he could no longer afford to keep his controversial flags flying — and it’s not for the reasons you’d think.
Bessinger’s empire, built on a secret recipe for yellow sauce and his reputation as an old-style Southern charmer, was once the nation’s biggest commercial barbecue operation. But his open embrace of a symbol indelibly associated with slavery disgusted many of his customers and dismayed most of his business associates. Walmart pulled his Southern Gold sauce off its shelves, and, according to Bessinger’s autobiography, Defending My Heritage, the company lost 98 percent of its wholesale business.
Still, Bessinger claims he isn’t trying to woo back barbecue fans who were repelled by his rebel politics. He’s instead blaming the recession for the rising cost of dry cleaning.
This is sad to read. Maurice, and his descendants, lost a great deal when he took a stand. Maurice used to even sell little booklets in his stores defending slavery from a Biblical perspective! This is a Southerner who took a real stand and has suffered for it.
I eat at Maurice’s restaurants when I can. The ribs and BBQ are some of the best in South Carolina. Being able to pick such delights up at a drive-through is a real luxury, and now Maurice’s even delivers to the Midlands area! At least relative to Taco Bell, this is health food.
Obviously taking down the flag is a desperate move to attract customers who’d be otherwise turned away. It’s a sign of South Carolina’s continuing reconstruction and demographic transformation that the Confederate flag would actually turn away more business than it brings in!
Robert E. Lee once said to Texas ex-Governor F. W. Stockdale:
Governor, if I had foreseen the use these people desired to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox, no, sir, not by me. Had I seen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand.
H/T: Good Old Rebel