A Confederate heritage organization is sending Gov. Roy Cooper a photo of about four dozen women and children posing with one of the Confederate monuments he wants removed from the Capitol grounds as a reminder from the opposition.
The picture was taken after a celebration of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s birthday in the Capitol Building on Jan. 20, according to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, North Carolina Division.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans reported it was sending Cooper the message a day after a committee of the NC Historical Commission met Monday to begin its review of his administration’s request to move three statues – the 1895 Confederate Monument, the North Carolina Women of the Confederacy statue and the Henry Lawson Wyatt monument, which depicts the first Confederate soldier killed in battle – to the Bentonville Battlefield in Johnston County. The study committee wants to send its findings to the full commission by the end of April.
Cooper proposed moving the monuments last year after a violent rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., that left one woman dead.
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A 2015 law gives the Historical Commission some control over relocation of statues on public property. As the commission first took up the issue last September, two dozen House Republicans, including Speaker Tim Moore, sent a memo saying that moving the statues from the Capitol grounds to Johnston County would violate the law.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans said in a statement Tuesday that it was sending Cooper the photo “along with a reminder that Confederate heritage is North Carolina’s heritage too and that his efforts to move the monument are against the law.”
The Historical Commission is getting pressure from both sides. A group called The Campaign to Move Silent Sam sent the study committee a video it hoped would help convince members to support removing Confederate monuments throughout the state.
Students and others have tried for years to get the Silent Sam statute that depicts a Confederate soldier removed from the UNC Chapel Hill campus.
The Historical Commission is considering only the Cooper administration’s petition.