State News

Both sides of Confederate debate pressure McCrory to act

Posted July 23, 2015

— As the debate over the appropriateness of Confederate symbols continues to grow in North Carolina, groups on both sides of the issue are raising pressure on Gov. Pat McCrory to take action.

On Thursday, advocacy groups delivered a petition with more than 13,000 signatures to the governor's offices in the old Capitol building, urging McCrory to use his executive authority to halt the sale of vanity license plates bearing symbol of the Confederate battle flag.

Hours later, McCrory signed a much-debated bill protecting historical monuments – including an unknown number of Confederate memorials. House Democrats had launched a long floor debate in protest of the bill earlier this week, at times eliciting frustrated responses from Republicans who supported memorials honoring Confederate veterans.

"We are not saying that the Confederate monuments should be moved. We do not support acts of vandalism against them, but in the wake of last month's tragedy in Charleston, our so-called leaders have very troubling priorities, endorsing what many consider to be a symbol of hate," said Kevin Rogers, a spokesman for Action N.C., one of the sponsors of the petition. "We need to see that change, and that change needs to happen today."

McCrory said he wants to stop issuing the plates, which have been sold to more than 2,000 supporters of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. But he says he thinks the law requires him to wait for General Assembly approval. At the same time, legislative leaders say it is the governor's decision.

Rogers said McCrory "needs to show a little leadership. Certainly, legal ambiguity is not something that's prevented him from taking legal action before."

The delay has allowed more people to order the battle flag plates. The Division of Motor Vehicles received a high volume of requests at the end of last month in the days after McCrory called for halting them, and the agency processed the equivalent of nine months' worth of orders in less than 10 days.

The North Carolina NAACP has scheduled a press conference on Friday at their offices in Durham urging McCrory to veto the monuments bill and end the sale of the Confederate license plates.

McCrory traveled to Aspen, Colo., this week for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association, and his office has not responded to follow-up requests for comment.

Confederate plates by county

Cumberland County has the largest number of the specialty plates from Sons of Confederate Veterans with a total of 98, according to DMV data. Bertie County and Davie County both have none.

But adjusted for the total number of cars and trucks registered each county, Tyrrell County has the highest percentage of plates – a rate of about 164 per 100,000 vehicles – relative to its small population. Cherokee, Anson and Clay counties follow close behind with rates of more than 100 plates per 100,000 vehicles.

Click a county in the map below to see how many specialty plates marked with the Sons of Confederate Veterans logo have been issued by the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, per 100,000 vehicles registered in each county.

Per 100,000 vehicles






Plates per 100,000 vehicles: 6.56

Source: N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles


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  • William James Jul 24, 2015
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    Yes the SC confederate flag was raised at the Centennial near the build up of the Civil Rights movement, MLK DC speech, and Act of 1964. Saying that they raised the flag as a symbol of their heritage is like saying they burned crosses in black peoples yards as a reminder to go to church or the SC Killer wore the battle and Apartheid Flag as "Heritage", or the Nazi Flag represents German heritage.

  • Bobby Correct Jul 24, 2015
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    Check your history. The flag was raised over SC capital as part of the Confederate Centennial.

  • William James Jul 24, 2015
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    When hundreds of Confederate statues and Flags sitting in front of the capital, courts, and colleges, specially what message is being communicated? That NC, not matter what will never change and defy the power of the federal government? That no matter what or how many minorities are offended or dislike the representation they will always stay up because white people rule. Also, the Confederate Flag was raised in SC in opposition to the Civil Rights movement, not heritage so it was raised with racist intent. Also, why is it only white people in the confederacy are worth honoring? Confederate monuments perfectly define NC, run by whites who say they aren't racist, but towns are still racially divided, minority colleges grads earn less money, high minority towns pay workers less.

  • Kenneth Anderson Jul 24, 2015
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    Could WRAL's coverage of this issue be any more Liberal biased?
    They insert into the article last night a small edit mentioning McCrory signing the Monument protection bill into law almost as if their feelings are hurt that he signed it. The title of the article suggests both sides of the debate are represented, but no they are not.
    Instead, they place a distribution map of SCV license plates by county in the article. What's the purpose behind the map? It reminds me of similar tactics of publishing the addresses of Conceal Carry permit holders.

    WRAL do you think no one notices your news coverage has become more agenda driven than simply reporting the news in a fair and balanced manner? I'm not just referring to this story.

  • Charlie Watkins Jul 24, 2015
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    Give it up. The flag is coming down and all monuments to Confederate dead are coming down too.

    Best thing to do is remove them yourself before the Democrats tell you to. The only path forward is to hide the monuments in private museums or on private property.

    The Democrats see this as an excellent opportunity to solidify the liberal vote here in North Carolina and the nation.

    There is more interest now in punishing the South than there was at the end of the Civil War. Much of it is coming from the labor unions who are mad that so many businesses are moving South.

    Sadly it is a battle that we cannot win so remove the monuments before they do.

  • Paul Jones Jul 23, 2015
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    That flag was the battle flag... the one used to represent the poor soldiers trying to defend their land and homes. Those men were not wealthy land owners with slaves. They were poor subjects of the state obligated to fight.

    Contrary to claims that the flag is a symbol of hate, I contend it was a symbol of struggle with the North. That is precisely what it is.

    Sadly, a few in the unpopular and powerless KKK throw it around hoping to agitate people. Those clowns agitate me and most white people, too. Let's not allow that bunch to try to alter what that flag represents.

    Speaking of the KKK, did you see where a black officer helped a KKK member who was getting sick from sun and dehydration in the SC rally recently. That was so awesome. If I was there, I would have applauded the officer and bought him dinner.

  • Brendan Dillon Jul 23, 2015
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    Also, the statement that "The Confederate Flag has never been waved as a symbol of The Master Race" is preposterous on its face.

  • Brendan Dillon Jul 23, 2015
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    The NAACP never lynched anyone.

  • Brendan Dillon Jul 23, 2015
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    You're right about one part - Germany did not "cleanse" their history. It may be illegal to fly the Nazi flag, but they have still preserved that part of their history - by leaving the concentration camps in place, establishing Holocaust museums, etc. Like NC Native, I don't want to compare atrocities; clearly these are two different things. But this is what gets lost in the comparison: we keep Confederate flags and monuments around to honor our dubious history, but Germany keeps them around to remember their past mistakes and learn from them. No one is saying we should "cleanse" our history or pretend it never happened. Quite the opposite: we want to cast light on our history, so we can learn from it and stop making the same mistakes over and over again. Removing symbols of oppression will not remove the problems that still exist, but it's a step towards long overdue reconciliation.

  • Johan Summer Jul 23, 2015
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    Exactly!! And dismantle the NAACP while we're at it....bunch of trouble makers and race-baiters!