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The state Historical Commission decided Wednesday against moving the monuments, despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s request to do so. Members said even if they supported relocating the monuments, a state law means they must stay in place.
The commission voted 10-1 to reinterpret the three monuments with adjacent signs about “the consequences of slavery” and the “subsequent oppressive subjugation of African American people.” It urged construction of a memorial to black citizens, which has been discussed for years, as soon as possible. The group of academics, amateur historians and preservationists also acknowledged that the monuments erected decades after the Civil War near the old 1840 Capitol are imbalanced toward the Civil War and the Confederacy.
Decision - Cooper - Law - State - Legislature
After the decision, Cooper decried a 2015 law passed by the GOP-controlled state legislature that sharply restricts where state and local government officials can relocate such memorials and all but bars their permanent removal. He also said the toppling of the Confederate statue known as “Silent Sam” on Monday night at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was an example of what happens when people feel their leaders won’t act on their concerns.
“The actions that toppled Silent Sam bear witness to the strong feelings many North Carolinians have about Confederate monuments. I don’t agree with or condone the way that monument came down, but protesters concluded that their leaders would not – could not — act on the frustration and pain it caused,” Cooper said.
Commission - Member - Samuel - Dixon - Part
Commission member Samuel Dixon, part of a five-member committee that recommended the added context, said the 2015 law limited what the commission could do.
“I believe the monuments need to tell the truth and based upon the law that we have today I do not think we can move them,” said Dixon, an Edenton lawyer. “But I think we can … tell a...
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