Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the “Electoral Integrity Act” on Thursday amid widespread criticism from Democrats and voting rights groups, and the arrest of a black lawmaker in the State.
Kemp now faces new controversy after it emerged that he apparently signed the new bill while sitting under a painting in a former slave plantation. Will Bunch, national opinion columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer connect first.
The painting is clearly visible in the photos of Kemp signing the invoice. Bunch identified the image as Brickhouse Road – Callaway PLNT by artist Olessia Maximenko, showing a document from the Georgia Council for the Arts.
The former slave plantation in Wilkes County, Georgia is now a historic site for visitors. A Google image search shows photos of the plantation that further support Bunch’s claim that it is represented in the painting.
Georgia Republicans have been accused of committing to voter suppression with the Electoral Integrity Act amid serious concerns that the bill’s measures will negatively affect black voters in the state.
President Joe Biden joined the chorus of critics, calling the new bill “Jim Crow in the 21st century”, referring to racist and segregationist laws that were previously used to deny black people the right to vote, among other restrictions.
Bunch noted on Twitter that “at the time of the Civil War, the Callaway Plantation was only thriving through the back-breaking labor of over 100 slaves who were held in cruel human slavery.”
“Georgia has ushered in the new era of mass incarceration and voter suppression, embodied by Brian Kemp and his purges of legitimate voters and other Jim Crow-inspired tactics,” Bunch continued.
“In 2021, the irony of Kemp signing this bill – which makes it illegal to give water to voters waiting on the sometimes 10-hour lines that state policies create in constituencies essentially black – under the image of a plantation too much to bear. “
“The symbolism is no accident. Brian Kemp and his white henchmen have created an image for our time, working to carry on a tradition of inhumanity and white supremacy that now spans centuries,” said he declared.
It comes just two days after Georgia State Representative Park Cannon, who is black, was arrested and kicked out of the State Capitol after knocking on the governor’s door while signing the law.
Newsweek asked Gov. Brian Kemp’s office for comment on this article.