Public monuments bill heading to McCrory

Posted July 21, 2015

— A bill that would require legislative approval to move public monuments, including Confederacy-related memorials, received final House approval Tuesday despite pleas from black lawmakers that timing of the proposal was inappropriate.

After the 70-39 vote, Senate Bill 22, dubbed the Historic Artifact Management and Patriotism Act, now heads to Gov. Pat McCrory, who will have 10 days to sign it, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.

The bill would prohibit the permanent removal of any "monument, memorial, plaque, statue, marker, or display of a permanent character that commemorates an event, a person, or military service that is part of North Carolina's history" from public property unless the General Assembly passes a law to allow for the removal.

The measure passed the Senate unanimously in April, but the House debate comes less than five weeks after a white supremacist gunned down nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. Since then, South Carolina has removed a Confederate battle flag from its capitol grounds, and other states and businesses have debated the flag and other symbols linked to the rebel cause.

Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, chided House Speaker Tim Moore during Tuesday's 90-minute debate for even taking up the bill this week.

"The timing is just bad," Pierce said. "It's just very divisive. I wish we could have waited to deal with this bill."

Moore, R-Cleveland, responded that the bill is the same as it was when the Senate approved it three months ago. If the House had debated it in early June, the proposal might have similarly sailed through, he said, adding that waiting might not change the tenor of the debate.

"The bill has somehow taken on the life of that," Moore said, referring to the Charleston shooting. "We're all victims of circumstances."

Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, noted that the bill was intended to preserve memorials to North Carolina veterans and includes sections on how to handle U.S. and state flags.

Despite that, and although the bill covers all public monuments, much of the debate Monday night and Tuesday centered on the dozens of memorials to people tied to the Confederacy in counties across North Carolina. Three such monuments have been vandalized in the Triangle in recent weeks, including the Confederate Women's Monument at the State Capitol, which was spray-painted overnight.

Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, said opposition to the bill is "based on a misreading of history." The memorials need to be viewed in context, he said, and the people and events they commemorate remembered for their role in creating the North Carolina that exists today.

"We should embrace history, not forget it," Blust said. "We have to preserve history, even the bad parts, to learn from it and grow from it."

Islamic State forces go into captured towns and destroy the local historical artifacts, he noted.

Rep. Nathan Baskerville, D-Vance, told his House colleagues that, while he respects state history and their individual family histories, Confederate memorials represent oppression to him and his family, as well as to most blacks in North Carolina.

"You can call it whatever you want to call it," Baskerville said. "Brown people see oppression. Brown people see Jim Crow. Brown people see slavery."

The state chapter of the NAACP called on McCrory to veto the bill.

"The urgency with which the majority of our state representatives raced to protect Confederate monuments is appalling and shameful, given that hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians live without health insurance due to the General Assembly and Governor's refusal to expand Medicaid, given that thousands of North Carolinians need a living wage, that teachers need job security, that public schools need adequate funding (and) that our environment needs adequate protections," state NAACP President Rev. William Barber said in a statement.


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  • Belle Boyd Jul 22, 2015
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    If you don't like the South, you are free to leave and go somewhere else in the country/world.

  • Belle Boyd Jul 22, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Plus, Confederates were patriots. Plus the North started the war by being aggressive to the South and not listening to SC when they said don't bring supplies to Fort Sumter or you will be fired upon. They didn't listen so...

  • Belle Boyd Jul 22, 2015
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    First it is called the Patriot Act which is: The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. Its title is a ten-letter backronym (USA PATRIOT) that stands for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001".
    The Patriot Act is for terrorists not treason smarty.

  • Johan Summer Jul 22, 2015
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    They don't even realize that Jo. And Hoodlums they are. Pass the bill, catch the hoodlums (criminals) and let's move on.

  • Vinnie Paul Jul 22, 2015
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    "...and Patriotism Act" BAH HAH HAH. Oh the irony. Attaching the word "Patriotism" to legislation protecting knick knacks celebrating a treasonous group of civilians that incited a war which resulted in the greatest loss of life in our country's history. If they were properly dealt with as they should have been after being crushed by the North, then maybe we wouldn't be having all of this romantic, revisionist history today about "heritage" and what not.

  • Joseph Shepard Jul 22, 2015
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    I have to wonder if those hoodlums defacing the Confederate Monuments are even aware that those monuments represent many Blacks who fought for the Confederacy? Or in their ignorance,, do they even care?

  • Jeri Massi Jul 22, 2015
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    I agree that the Confederate flag needs to come down from government buildings, where ever they may be. But I also think that Confederate monuments do have historical signficance, since most were built before the Civil Rights era. HOWEVER, there really needs to be a monument (or several) to the "US Colored Infantry" soldiers who risked everything, and often paid with their lives, for serving to fight for their freedom and the freedom of the enslaved. They are war heroes too. Here is one man I would certainly nominate:

  • Kenneth Anderson Jul 22, 2015
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    This is a bill that puts all monuments and historical markers under the control of the NC Division of Cultural Resources who can properly evaluate their historical importance. It also prevents kneejerk reactions by easily intimidated local governments from destroying history and keeps cooler heads in control.
    Confederate soldiers?
    Who in the world today wants to exterminate History by destroying historical monuments under their control?

  • Dati Pemby Jul 21, 2015
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    See, the BLM crowd and the SJWs railing against Republicans, Christians, etc. do so because they're easy targets. They don't offer resistance to their bullying and illegal actions.

    Now, if they tried to pull these antics on Muslims for their treatment of gays and women....HA, they're be receiving death threats, bombs in the mail and would be beheaded if caught in public.

    They're not tough enough for that, they like to pick on people who are too afraid to fight back in fear of being branded a racist, bigot, or whatever else applies when someone doesn't drink their KoolAid.

    However, my social barometer tells me some people are sick of being picked on.

  • Dunkin Barnes Jul 21, 2015
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    While we bicker over pieces of granite monuments the muslim extremists will destroy America. Wake up!