Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina announced the other day that he would retire; his preferred replacement was Rep. Tim Scott. Now it’s official:

Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina has chosen Representative Tim Scott to replace Jim DeMint in the United States Senate, according to three Republican officials. The move will make Mr. Scott the first black senator from the South since the late 19th century.

This was unsurprising and overall, little is changed. DeMint was perhaps the most conservative senator, and as Thinkprogress has detailed, Scott is really conservative as well.

Still, it’s a nice bit of history. South Carolina was once the center of a treasonous rebellion, a state so fanatically dedicated to chattel slavery that they started an aggressive war rather than give it up, and died in the tens of thousands as a result. And for a century afterward they enforced a system of white supremacy backed up by terrorist violence.

Now in that state the conservative party has a black senator. Obviously it’s not the cure for all racial issues, but all other things equal, it’s a good sign.


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Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanlcooper. Ryan Cooper is a national correspondent at The Week. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The Nation.