Politics & Government

Remove Confederate statues from public government land, ACLU-NC urges

DeAndre Harris, bottom, is assaulted in a parking garage beside the Charlottesville, Va., police station after a white nationalist rally was dispersed by police Saturday.
DeAndre Harris, bottom, is assaulted in a parking garage beside the Charlottesville, Va., police station after a white nationalist rally was dispersed by police Saturday. AP

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina urged state and local leaders on Tuesday to remove Confederate monuments from public government land.

“The Confederacy sought to protect slavery, dissolve the Union and preserve white supremacy,” Karen Anderson, executive director of the ACLU-NC said in a statement. “While Confederate armies ultimately failed to achieve those first two goals, the monuments erected in their memory under Jim Crow were and remain vile symbols of white supremacy and the terrorization of communities of color across the country.”

Communities in the South have discussed removing Confederate monuments after Saturday’s violent clash between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., that killed a woman and injured dozens.

Confederate statues in North Carolina are protected by a 2015 state law. Former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed the law that prevents removing, relocating, or altering monuments, memorials, plaques and other markers that are on public property without permission from the N.C. Historical Commission, the (Raleigh) News & Observer reported..

Anderson said keeping the monuments on the state’s public land “sends a message that it endorses the oppression and inequality that they represent.”

The ACLU-NC called on the General Assembly and Gov, Roy Cooper to repeal the 2015 law and immediately remove the monuments.

“The renewed rise of white supremacy and the violence perpetrated by neo-Nazi terrorists in Charlottesville, Va., are painful reminders of how much work remains to challenge and defeat systems of hate and racial oppression in our nation,” Anderson said. “As a former slave state adorned with many monuments to the Confederacy’s racist cause, North Carolina must confront its own history, acknowledge the shameful message these statues send, and take action to remove them.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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