Jasper County Council candidate evokes criticism with race-tinged Facebook post

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comMay 1, 2014 

A file photograph of Samuel Gregory in 2001.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • Gregory's post

    "Hello Facebook Friends. I'm here today to inform you on my candidacy for County Council on June 10, 2014. We, as a black community, need to cone together to help out on some major issues plaguing our younger and future generation. If you want someone who will get the help needed to solve unsolved murders, is dedicated to ensuring better education for our children, dedicated to our (black) needs in general, then vote for me on June 10. If you are 17 and will be 18 years old by November, you are also allowed to vote on June 10. It is time for us as a people, to remember, united we stand divided we fall! We must stop the senselessness that we have been demonstrating for a long time and remember that we should be a PROUD people and become future role models for OUR children and not let others of A DIFFERENT RACE raise nor dictate how our children should act nor how they should be! So come out on June 10 and vote Samuel Gregory for County Council and let's take back the TRUE AND PROUD meaning of being BLACK."

Online commenters are calling a Facebook post by Jasper County Council candidate Samuel Gregory racist and offensive.

The post was published Monday on Gregory's personal Facebook page to announce his candidacy for the council's Coosawhatchie Township seat.

The Ridgeland Democrat filed last month to challenge incumbent Democrat Martin Sauls in the June 10 primary. Republican Richard L. Arizillo also is running for the seat.

In the Facebook post, Gregory, who is black, writes that he is "someone who will get the help needed to solve unsolved murders, is dedicated to ensuring better education for our children, dedicated to our (black) needs in general."

Black Jasper County residents should "remember that we should be a PROUD people and become future role models for OUR children and not let others of A DIFFERENT RACE raise nor dictate how our children should act nor how they should be!" the post continued.

The post had been shared more than 120 times as of Thursday evening and drew dozens of comments. Many said Gregory's post is racist, offensive and unrepresentative of the county's mixes of races and ethnicities.

Attempts Wednesday and Thursday to reach Gregory were unsuccessful. However, Gregory confirmed the post was his in an article that appeared Wednesday on the Jasper County Sun website. He told the publication he did not believe his post was racist.

"It's a sad situation. I'm almost at a loss for words," Sauls said. "I truly believe that Jasper County is much better than that and that type of mindset is hopefully of the past."

Gregory is an in-school suspension counselor at Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School, district spokeswoman Shellie Murdaugh said.

He was reinstated at the district in early April after he was found not guilty of accusations that he assaulted a student at Hardeeville Middle School last May, Murdaugh said. Gregory was put on paid administrative leave during the investigation, she added.

The district will not comment on the content of Gregory's post, Murdaugh said.

Gregory is also a former Jasper County Council chairman. He was defeated by Tom Johnson in the 2012 Democratic primary runoff for an at-large council seat.

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

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