Confederate monuments

Out of the frying pan into the fire: Carol Folt takes over at USC

You have to admire her stamina:

In the wake of a series of scandals that rocked it to its foundations, the University of Southern California on Wednesday announced the appointment of a new president: Carol L. Folt, the former chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Folt will be the first female president in USC’s 139-year history. Before serving six years as head of UNC, she amassed a lengthy academic record as a professor of biological sciences, a dean, a provost and interim president at Dartmouth College. But perhaps most important for the USC job are her battle scars: in North Carolina, Folt managed to overcome a series of partisan political fights and academic scandals (though not without criticism that she didn't go far enough with reforms). Ultimately, she was pushed out of the job after bravely making the call to remove remnants of a Confederate statue at the heart of the campus.

I'm sure she'll be well-compensated by USC, but she sure has her hands full:

Winston-Salem ready to take legal action to move Confederate statue

Move over Silent Sam, this other dude's time has come:

Although the city has offered to pay the costs of relocating the statue to a new site, Mayor Allen Joines said he was told in recent months by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the statue’s owners, that the group doesn’t believe it can legally move the monument because of a North Carolina law passed in 2015.

The city is threatening legal action to have the statue moved if the UDC doesn’t act on its own by Jan. 31.

Pretty sure that 2015 law does not apply. The statue was originally placed on public property, but that property was sold and converted into downtown apartments. But the statue is still the "property" of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. On the plus side, there is a historic cemetery not far away where Confederate soldiers are actually buried, so hopefully the UDC will see the wisdom of moving the statue to that site. But a looming conflict has already been set in motion. Jordan Green with the Triad City Beat has been tracking potentially dangerous White Supremacists in the region for a while, and he's got some details:

Confederate monument watch: Guard posted in Alamance

It would be nice if they protected African-American citizens with such dedication:

The monument has been a hot spot several times in the past few years between those calling for the removal of Confederate monuments and statues of Confederate leaders from public property — especially after the 2015 mass murder of nine people at a church in Charleston, S.C. — and those rallying around what they call Southern heritage who want to preserve those statues and display the Confederate battle flag.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with Graham police to “provide manpower,” according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kirk Puckett. While he won’t give specifics, Puckett said someone will be there 24 hours a day “until further notice.” There have been no direct threats against the monument or the courthouse, according to Puckett.

While this Graham statue hasn't garnered nearly as much attention as Silent Sam, we've had a few clashes over it. We're also working to get some sort of monument erected in a corner of the square (not pictured) to a former slave who became a magistrate after the war, only to be lynched by the local version of the Klan. That project began shortly after I wrote this Op-Ed a year ago. Read it when you get a chance, it's a fascinating (and horrifying) story. But this current police presence is likely more about preventing pro-Confederate vigilantes from gathering than actually protecting the monument itself:

The power of the purse: UNC students boycott campus stores over Silent Sam

When the institution lets you down, let down the institution:

Student organizers seeking the removal of a Confederate soldier statue at North Carolina’s flagship public university have embarked on a monthlong boycott of commercial goods on campus.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the boycott launched Monday at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a social media push follows marches, sit-ins, noise demonstrations and a lawyer’s letter last week pressing the school to remove the statue nicknamed “Silent Sam.” The boycott encompasses the Student Stores, the main dining hall, cafes, a snack stand, a bagel shop, Wendy’s, Starbucks and parking garages, and will end Oct. 18.

Whenever something like this occurs, you can't help but wonder about people who are already living on the margins losing their jobs. That being said, the students are very limited in the activities they can engage in to get rid of this anachronistic symbol of oppression. Don't forget, the General Assembly just passed a law to shield right-wing provocateurs on campus, threatening students with disciplinary action if they speak their minds in opposition. But that "bottling up" of the anger and frustration doesn't make it go away, it does just the opposite. The UNC administration should be glad a boycott is how they choose to vent that.

Five arrested in Alamance County during face-off at pro-Confederacy rally

Welcome to life in Trumpistan:

Shouting members of activist groups traded verbal jabs Saturday in Graham’s Court Square, though physical altercations only took place between a few protesters and law enforcement. The event, Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County’s Confederate Memorial Day observance, along with the Triangle Industrial Workers of the World’s counter-demonstration, began with arrests of three IWW protestors.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said some ACTBAC members arrived with muskets, as they had been encouraged by the organization’s leadership to bring, and some IWW protestors had knives. Demonstrators on both sides were instructed to take their weapons back to their vehicles. None appeared to have been brandished the rest of the day.

It was inevitable that this crop of rednecks would eventually be confronted by the more radical elements of the Left, and I am glad there is pushback of a more vocal level. But this escalation greatly increases the likelihood that violence will occur at one of these events, something I will not condone. I understand frustration is high, and people are being hurt by the backwards slide into Conservatism. But physical violence (always) changes the dynamic in situations like this, by attracting violent people like moths to a flame. But that flame won't burn out, it will just grow bigger. Here's more:

Confederacy of dunces coming to Chapel Hill

confederacyofdunces.jpg

Don't worry, there is no mastermind behind this event

“It’s nothing racist,” Williamson said. “It’s standing up namely for the school itself, which a lot of people don’t understand, and the folks who went to Chapel Hill, the student body who fought for the cause of Northern oppression. That’s what the Civil War was about.” Southerners who fought in the Civil War were standing up for their rights by opposing “overbearing government, taxes” and the taking of their land, he said.

“We’re not just standing up for one particular thing,” Williamson said. “We’re standing up for the state of North Carolina and the good parts that need to be remembered, not the bad stuff. The bad stuff, we had no part in, and that’s not why we fought the war.”

Taxes? There were no Federal income taxes levied on North Carolinians prior to the early 20th Century. There were tariffs, but those only tangentially affected most citizens. The State, however, did decide to avoid property taxes, which would hurt their slave plantation-owning friends, and instead taxed the crap out of the middle class. And just like it is these days, half of the population refused to recognize the tyranny in their own back yard.

An accurate history of North Carolina's Confederate monuments

The North Carolina General Assembly passed and Deputy Assistant Governor P. McCrory signed legislation aimed at preserving Confederate monuments from corrective action. They offered ahistorical rationalizations for their actions, which Duke University professor Timothy Tyson concisely corrected.

Confederate monuments: A call for local action

Once again, the NC legislature, hoping to stir up a few votes for hate-mongers, passed a bill requiring legislative approval for 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" on public property. The bill goes to McCrory for his signature.

Monuments to white supremacy

Republican members of the North Carolina General Assembly offer misleading rationalizations for legislation with which they wish to protect monuments to racism from being either moved or removed altogether.
They make the transparent argument that protection of "patriotic" monuments in general is their goal.
Yet Confederate monuments were under fire in April when the legislation was approved by the #NCGA Senate and no other monuments were or are now at risk.

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