Confederate monuments

Alamance battleground: Protesters sit-in at Council member's soda shop

The cost of doing business in an unjust environment:

On Wednesday evening, about 60 people gathered in the Alamance County town’s Court Square to call for justice in the name of Andrew Brown, the Black man recently shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in Elizabeth City.

A few minutes before 7 p.m., about a dozen protesters marched from the park in Court Square to Graham Soda Shop and Grill, a restaurant across from the courthouse owned by Jennifer Talley, a member of the city council. Inside, they sat and sang “Amazing Grace” to protest her support of the anti-protest ordinance.

An ordinance that makes it illegal to gather more than 10 people for a protest without obtaining a permit from notorious Sheriff Terry Johnson. Once the 11th person walks up, arrests can immediately follow. Of course the first protesters to be ejected from her restaurant were African-American:

Charges dropped for 4 Graham protesters

A step in the right direction:

A visiting judge dismissed charges on Wednesday against a local NAACP president and three others who defied a protest ban in Graham, a small city in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina, last summer.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Barrett Brown, president of the Alamance County NAACP, after he picked up a "Black Lives Matter" sign during a July 25 press conference and walked across the street to hold it while standing next to a divisive Confederate monument in front of the Historic Courthouse. Three others, including a Democratic member of the county board of elections, walked over to join Brown and were also arrested.

They should have never been arrested in the first place. Barrett and Trina are friends of mine, both dedicated to seeking justice for those who have been marginalized in our County (Alamance). Here's more on the ongoing saga of suppressing peaceful protests:

Targeted intimidation: Klan flyers show up in advocates' yards

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Solid proof of why these statues need to be removed:

Inside the plastic bag was the homemade KKK flyer -- and a business card from the East Coast Knights of the Invisible Empire. When Houpe looked closely at what her son handed her, at first, she was stunned. Then, she got angry that her son had to see it. “He cried and he asked me, ‘Do we need to move? What should we do?’” Houpe said. “I’m just a woman who wants to see change and her kids to grow up in a community without this kind of hate. That’s all I’m working to do.”

Statesville Police Chief David Addison said the flyers began showing up on Saturday -- four days after county commissioners had voted 4-1 to move the Confederate monument that’s been in front of the courthouse since 1905.

This "Invisible Empire" is probably a baker's dozen of glazed nut-jobs, but the implied threat should be taken very seriously. And this flyer should be included as evidence in the license plate lawsuit, just so Kevin Stone would be forced to explain the difference between targeted intimidation and broad-based intimidation.

Monumental upheaval: Vance obelisk to be removed in Asheville

Honoring slave owners was never a good idea:

The Buncombe County Commissioners voted 7-0 on Monday to remove the obelisk erected more than a century ago in an Asheville square to honor Zebulon Vance, a Civil War officer and North Carolina governor who owned slaves, news sources reported. The Asheville City Council was scheduled to vote on whether to accept the recommendation on Tuesday.

In November, nine of the 12 members of the Vance Monument Task Force voted to remove the Vance monument. Two of the task force members called for repurposing the monument.

In place of my normal self-righteous rant, I will simply let Zebulon Vance himself explain why this monument needs to be removed:

Alamance battleground: Sheriff adds felony charges to (peaceful) protest leader

And could land Greg Drumwright in jail for 3-4 years:

Twenty-three people were arrested, including the main march organizers. All of these people initially were charged with misdemeanors.

Now, Drumwright is being charged with felony assault with physical injury on a law enforcement officer and felony obstructing justice in addition to his previous charge of misdemeanor failure to disperse on command.

Here are a couple of truth-bombs: If you aren't allowed to connect your public address sound system to electric outlets at the venue (Courthouse), you will need a stand-alone generator. And that generator will need gasoline to function. It's as simple as that. But law enforcement saw an opportunity to escalate the situation by viewing the gas can as an incendiary device; fuel for a fire that was never going to happen. And in the process, they perfectly symbolized the core issue driving the Black Lives Matter movement itself: Police operating from a "worst case scenario" mindset when dealing with black citizens. An assumption of guilt that must be (somehow) proven wrong by the suspect, often in a matter of seconds before lethal force comes into play. I'll let Reverend Drumwright speak his mind, since Terry Johnson won't allow it in his fiefdom:

Voter suppression lawsuit filed after pepper-spraying incident

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson is headed to court:

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson is now a defendant in three lawsuits over the treatment of protesters in downtown Graham and he is not alone. Graham’s new police chief, Kristy Cole, is also a defendant in two of those suits, as is Alamance County. The City of Graham is still fighting at least one.

Allen v. City of Graham was filed Nov. 2 on behalf of three people and a group called Future Alamance at the now notorious police crackdown on the Oct. 31 “I am Change” march in downtown Graham.

Both County and City (Graham) leaders are responsible for this international embarrassment, and they have nobody to blame but themselves. The march was peaceful, the group had permission ahead of time, but officers started tearing down their sound system the very second (they thought) the time had expired. Just itching for a confrontation. And of course camouflage fatigues and machine guns were sported by some of Terry Johnson's little army. All that said, the voter suppression thing is going to be tough to prove:

Another one bites the dust: Rocky Mount votes to remove Confederate statue

Maybe they can airlift it and drop it on that "mechanized cavalry" dude's barn:

Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson tells WRAL News the city council has voted to remove a Confederate monument that has stood for years at Battle Park. The decision was made during a meeting for the city's 2020-2021 budget Tuesday between members of the council. The council voted 6-1 to remove the monument.

Roberson said the vote will be confirmed in an open meeting of the city council this Monday. He also said the plan is to remove the monument and store it somewhere. He was not sure if the vote has standing but said the Monday vote would be official.

Phallic symbol bemoaning the emasculation of a failed reb...Sorry, just thinking outloud for a minute there.

Silent Sam and the conspiracy to fund racism

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It doesn't get much uglier than this tale:

When the UNC System announced it had settled a lawsuit that the public hadn’t yet heard about last week, Kevin Stone began celebrating his secret role in a “major strategic victory” for the pro-Confederate movement.

Stone, commander of the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc., emailed his group that day with information he wouldn’t tell the media or others about. He described many months of confidential negotiations and meetings, invisible to the public and only fully understood by SCV leadership, attorneys and unspecified members of the UNC Board of Governors.

There are so many aspects of this deal that stink I don't even know where to start. From my understanding, the full Board of Governors has not met since mid-November, so this $2.5 Million racist boondoggle occurred without a vote. And what gets under my skin even more is the fact the dude who was pushing for this is a state employee funded by taxpayers:

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:

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