Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Signed 'Jim Crow' Bill Under a Slave Plantation Picture

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the "Election Integrity Law" on Thursday amid widespread criticism from Democrats and voting rights groups, and the arrest of a Black state lawmaker.

Kemp is now facing further controversy after it emerged he had apparently signed the new bill while sitting under a painting of a former slave plantation. Will Bunch, national opinion columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer made the connection first.

The painting can be clearly seen in photos of Kemp signing the bill. Bunch identified the picture as Brickhouse Road -- Callaway PLNT by artist Olessia Maximenko, pointing to a document from the Georgia Council for the Arts.

The former slave plantation in Wilkes County, Georgia, is now a historic visitors' site. A Google image search shows photos of the plantation that further support Bunch's contention that it is depicted in the painting.

Georgia Republicans have been accused of engaging in voter suppression with the Election Integrity Act amid serious concerns the bills measures will have a negative effect on Black voters in the state.

President Joe Biden joined the chorus of criticism, calling the new bill "Jim Crow in the 21st century," referring to the racist and segregationist laws that were previously used to deny Black people the right to vote, among other restrictions.

1. You've probably seen this picture of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his gaggle of white men signing the state's voter suppression law -- the new, new Jim Crow. But there's a shocking angle to this story that you haven't heard. Sit down for this one...

— Will Bunch Sign Up For My Newsletter (@Will_Bunch) March 26, 2021

Bunch noted on Twitter that "by the time of the Civil War, the Callaway Plantation only thrived because of the back-breaking labor of more than 100 slaves who were held in cruel human bondage."

"Georgia blazed a trail into the new era of mass incarceration and voter suppression, epitomized by Brian Kemp and his purges of legitimate voters and other Jim Crow-inspired tactics," Bunch went on.

"In 2021, 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."

"The symbolism is no accident. Brian Kemp and his white henchmen have created an image for our times, in working to continue a tradition of inhumanity and white supremacy that now spans centuries," he said.

It comes just two days after Georgia State Representative Park Cannon, who is Black, was arrested and removed from the state Capitol after knocking on the governor's door while he signed the law.

Newsweek has asked Governor Brian Kemp's office for comment on this article.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Speaks to Media
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks to the media before health care workers received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside of the Chatham County Health Department on December 15, 2020 in Savannah, Georgia. Kemp is facing criticism for a controversial new elections bill. Sean Rayford/Getty Images)