The Latest: Governor: Change law on moving rebel monuments
Aug. 22, 2018
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a North Carolina state panel meeting about a request by the governor to relocate three Confederate monuments on the Capitol grounds (all times local):
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says developments this week surrounding his state's Confederate monuments show that a law limiting their relocation must be changed.
Cooper made the comments after the state Historical Commission voted Wednesday to leave three Confederate monuments in place at the state Capitol, but also put up adjacent signs to discuss slavery and civil rights. Commissioners say a 2015 law would have made it difficult to relocate them even if necessary to preserve the monuments.
Cooper last year asked the commission to relocate the three monuments to a nearby battlefield. He said Wednesday it's time for North Carolina residents to understand "we can document and learn from our history without idolizing painful symbols."
On Monday, a Confederate statue known as "Silent Sam" was toppled on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.
The North Carolina Historical Commission has agreed with recommendations from a study panel to keep three Confederate monuments on the state Capitol grounds while reinterpreting them with information on slavery and civil rights.
The full commission voted 10-1 Wednesday in favor of the reinterpretation and urging construction of a memorial to North Carolina black citizens as soon as possible. The group of academics and amateur historians also recognized that monuments on the Capitol grounds are imbalanced toward the Civil War and the Confederacy.
The decision comes nearly a year after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's administration asked the commission to relocate the statues to a nearby Civil War battlefield. The commission agreed Wednesday that a 2015 state law made it difficult to move the monuments.
A North Carolina state committee has recommended that three Confederate monuments remain on the state Capitol grounds, but it also says more information should be installed next to them to discuss slavery and provide historical context.
The study panel voted Wednesday to re-interpret the monuments and also urged state leaders to build a memorial honoring the history of black citizens as soon as possible.
The recommendation now goes to the full state Historical Commission, which meets later Wednesday. The 11-member commission could decide to accept the findings or decide to move the monuments.
The commission is responding to last year's request by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to move the statues to a nearby Civil War battlefield. He made the request following events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and when a Confederate statue was torn down in Durham. Just this week, the statue known as "Silent Sam" on UNC's Chapel Hill campus.
Less than two days after protesters at the University of North Carolina's flagship campus toppled a statue of a Confederate soldier, a committee plans to announce its recommendation for three other 20th-century monuments on the state Capitol grounds.
A study committee of the state Historical Commission is expected to recommend Wednesday whether the three Confederate statues in Raleigh should be relocated. Gov. Roy Cooper asked last year that they be moved to a Civil War battlefield.
The full commission is then expected to vote on the committee's recommendation. The committee could vote to move the monuments, leave them in place or re-interpret them.
The vote follows the toppling of a statue known as "Silent Sam" on UNC's Chapel Hill campus Monday night