Governor, Roy Cooper, thinks Confederate monuments should be taken down. Cooper said, “Our Civil War history is important, but it belongs in textbooks and museums – not a place of allegiance on our Capitol grounds. And our history must tell the full story, including the subjugation of humans created in God’s image to provide the back-breaking labor that drove the South’s agrarian economy.”
Governor Cooper also stated in his press release, “I understand the frustration of those fed up with the pace of change. But after protesters toppled a statue in Durham Monday night, I said there was a better way to remove these monuments.”
Cooper wants to move forward and has laid out a plan to do it. His plan includes the North Carolina legislature repealing a 2015 law that prevents removal or relocation of monuments. Cities, counties and the state must have the authority and opportunity to make these decisions, according to Cooper.
Next, Governor Cooper wants the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to determine the cost and logistics of removing Confederate monuments from state property as well as alternatives for their placement at museums or historical sites where they can be studied in context.
Finally, in Cooper’s plan, the North Carolina legislature should defeat a bill that grants immunity from liability to motorists who strike protesters. That bill passed the state House and remains alive in the Senate. Cooper thinks the Senate should kill it, and those who attack protesters, weaponizing their vehicles like terrorists, should find no safe haven in North Carolina.
Gov. Cooper went on to state, “My first responsibility as governor is to protect North Carolinians and keep them safe. The likelihood of protesters being injured or worse as they may try to topple any one of the hundreds of monuments in our state concerns me. And the potential for those same white supremacist elements we saw in Charlottesville to swarm the site, weapons in hand, in retaliation is a threat to public safety.”
His news release comes after violent clashes erupted at a rally by white nationalists who were protesting the pending removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. On Monday, a group of protesters toppled a Confederate monument in Durham in response to that violence.