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Confederate Statue
Confederate Statue on Market Street on August 14, 2017 (Photo: Hannah Patrick/WWAY)

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Governor Roy Cooper calls for Confederate monuments to come down across North Carolina and has outlined a plan to do just that.

Gov. Cooper today shared his thoughts on the state’s confederate monuments in a new Medium post and on Twitter.

Last weekend, I watched with horror as events in Charlottesville unfolded. Having served as North Carolina Attorney General for 16 years, I am all too familiar with the racism, bigotry and full-out white supremacy that exist in corners of our society. But it was shocking to watch these elements displayed so publicly — venom and hatred shamelessly spewed in epithets. My stomach sank to learn that a peaceful counter-protester had been killed and many others injured as the hatred morphed into violence.

It started with a monument, stone and metal, inanimate and yet more provocative now than ever. Charlottesville could have been Raleigh, or Asheboro, or any other city in North Carolina that is home to a Confederate monument. I don’t pretend to know what it’s like for a person of color to pass by one of these monuments and consider that those memorialized in stone and metal did not value my freedom or humanity. Unlike an African-American father, I’ll never have to explain to my daughters why there exists an exalted monument for those who wished to keep her and her ancestors in chains.

Some people cling to the belief that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights. But history is not on their side. We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery. These monuments should come down.

Our Civil War history is important, but it belongs in textbooks and museums – not a place of allegiance on our Capitol grounds. And our history must tell the full story, including the subjugation of humans created in God’s image to provide the back-breaking labor that drove the South’s agrarian economy.

I understand the frustration of those fed up with the pace of change. But after protesters toppled a statue in Durham Monday night, I said there was a better way to remove these monuments.

My first responsibility as governor is to protect North Carolinians and keep them safe. The likelihood of protesters being injured or worse as they may try to topple any one of the hundreds of monuments in our state concerns me. And the potential for those same white supremacist elements we saw in Charlottesville to swarm the site, weapons in hand, in retaliation is a threat to public safety.

He said first North Carolina legislature must repeal a 2015 law that prevents removal or relocation of monuments. Adding, cities, counties and the state must have the authority and opportunity to make these decisions.

Second, he is requesting the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to determine the cost and logistics of removing Confederate monuments from state property as well as alternatives for their placement at museums or historical sites where they can be studied in context.

Coopers also says legislature should defeat a bill that grants immunity from liability to motorists who strike protesters.

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Comment on this Story

  • frodo67

    It is time for real Americans to stand up and fight the liberal fascists.

  • Bill Powell

    Lets rename the MLK Parkway so something like “Burn the Books Pkwy”

  • William Estes

    Actually, governor, North Carolina seceded in opposition to the use of force by the Lincoln administration against the seceded states. They believed rightly that those states were acting in accordance with the consent of those they governed and as such the Federal government had no authority to wage an aggressive war of coercion. Prior to Lincoln’s call for troops, NC had voted to remain in the Union. So, North Carolina as well as Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas were fighting for states’ rights. Please get your facts straight. And by the way, those monuments are protected under NC law. How about you follow that, eh?

  • Floyd Knowles

    Tell Roy to stand up for our History.

  • 58thStreetSurfer

    The Governor must not care if he gets reelected.

  • Tim Turner

    So the best way to protect NC citizens is to do exactly what Charlottesville VA was trying to do that brought the opposing factions to conflict there? I’d hope after some reflection a better way could be found than just jumping on the current hot button and going all-in. (What that would be I have no idea as both sides seem pretty entrenched on their view of the memorials need to stay/go but an answer that both sides can accept should be found first.)

    Violence is certainly not an acceptable tactic but neither is defacing government property be it overturning a statue or just repeatedly hanging a white flag on one. To do either should have legal consequences despite the prevailing attitude of “it’s OK just protesting a wrong”.

  • Roger Mulley

    Rediculous waste of resources.

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