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Georgia governor reportedly signs voting restrictions into law under portrait of slave plantation

When Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) shared a photo of himself signing a new bill to restrict voting access in the state, it featured Republican lawmakers gazing fondly upon him, as well as a prominent painting in the background.

The bill has been criticized as a measure that will largely affect Black voters and other voters of color, with groups like the ACLU arguing it amounts to voter suppression among already-disenfranchised groups. Kemp has denied that the bill seeks to suppress votes.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Will Bunch agreed, calling it the state's "new, new Jim Crow." Bunch also reports that the painting centered in Kemp's photo is actually a painting of "a notorious slave plantation in Wilkes County."

In a Twitter thread explaining his research, Bunch notes that the painting of the Callaway Plantation "is a monument to Georgia's history of brutal white supremacy that unfortunately didn't disappear when Mariah Callaway and the other slaves were emancipated in 1865." He draws a line from emancipation, to harsh Jim Crow laws of the 20th century, to today's 253 restrictive bills tightening voting rights, making the presence of the portrait particularly "shocking."

"The irony of Kemp signing this bill -- that makes it illegal to give water to voters waiting on the sometimes 10-hour lines that state policies create in mostly Black precincts -- under the image of a brutal slave plantation is almost too much to bear," wrote Bunch.