Cooper administration files to move Confederate monuments from Capitol

Posted September 8

— Gov. Roy Cooper's administration formally petitioned the state's Historical Commission Friday in an effort to remove three Confederate monuments from the Capitol grounds in downtown Raleigh.

Cooper wants to move the statues 45 miles south to the Bentonville Battlefield historic site in Johnston County.

A state law passed in 2015 to protect Confederate monuments and other "objects of remembrance" restricts what the state can do, even with consent from the Commission, which is slated to meet Sept. 22.

The law says no state-owned monuments or works of art can be removed without its approval, but it also lays out rules for when the commission does allow changes. Monuments can be relocated only "when appropriate measures are required by the state" to preserve them or when removal is needed to make room for construction.

Confederate monument Take a tour of the NC Capitol's Confederate monuments

In its petition, the administration argues that this move indeed is needed "to ensure the monuments' preservation."

There's a full prohibition in the law against moving monuments to a museum, cemetery or mausoleum unless they were originally placed at one. Also, any movement requires monuments to be relocated "to a site of similar prominence, honor, visibility, availability, and access that are within the boundaries of the jurisdiction from which it was relocated," the law states.

The administration argues that Bentonville, the site of the largest Civil War battle in North Carolina, fits these requirements.

State Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon, who co-sponsored the 2015 monument protection law, said his understanding of the law is that the Historical Commission has the power to approve removal of the State Capitol monuments. That doesn't mean it should in this case, he said.

"I think that we ought to preserve history and remember it," Davis said. "We have a checkered past in America and all the things that have gone on we are not proud of. ... And I think, before we remove these historical monuments of any kind, that we ought to do our due diligence and examine what we're doing it for."

The three statues at the Capitol that Cooper's administration wants to move are The 1895 Confederate Monument, The Henry Lawson Wyatt Monument and The North Carolina Women of the Confederacy Monument. The petition notes that the Capitol grounds are sometimes referred to as "Union Square."


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  • Melody Dixon Oct 13, 12:28 a.m.
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    Big waste of money and time to remove these monuments! You can"t change or erase history by doing this. OK if the monuments go then I hope Govornor Cooper will be History when his term is up.He should be anyway. Its a shame to have a Govornor that disrespects the people of North Carolina. The majority of people here and in the war didn't own any slaves!

  • Traci Thompson Sep 22, 11:13 p.m.
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    Five of Governor Cooper's Bains ancestors were Confederate soldiers, including Asberry Bains, whose name he bears. Several of those five died in the war, at least one from wounds sustained in battle and another as a POW. Governor Cooper should be ashamed of dishonoring his ancestors!!!

  • Traci Thompson Sep 22, 11:11 p.m.
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    They are veterans, U.S. or not, by virtue of having fought in a war - the definition of veteran. As men who were willing to give their all and die in war, they deserve the same honor as any other veteran.

  • Traci Thompson Sep 22, 11:04 p.m.
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    You would compare good men who fought to protect their homes to a mass murderer? Sick!
    For those who want to compare to monuments in other countries: "When I was in the former East Germany last year I was struck by the number of memorials put up by the Soviet Union that were still there. When we asked the tour guide why those didn't come down during the reconstruction he said that Germans considered it part of their history."- Cheryl Oberdieck

  • Traci Thompson Sep 22, 10:56 p.m.
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    You do know that language changes over time, right?

  • Traci Thompson Sep 22, 10:55 p.m.
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    If you've read the secession documents, then you know there is a lot in there about economics aside from slavery as well. To only focus on that one issue is also biased and not telling the whole truth. The truth, for example, about the majority of Southerners, particularly those who fought, not owning slaves, and the reality that soldiers fight for many different reasons regardless of what a government document states. Try this one, which uses many primary source quotes: https://youtu.be/RPOnL-PZeCc

  • Ralph Savary Sep 14, 1:02 p.m.
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    That's like saying my neighbor doesn't know how to change the oil in his car. What could he possibly know about doing his taxes. Completely surprising but after reading your comments I wouldn't suspect that you're a Rhodes Scholar either.

  • Deborah Turner Sep 13, 2:37 p.m.
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    When the Great Governor of N.C. , Roy Cooper was on television several months ago telling about how his wife won't let him build a fire in the fireplace because he forgot the close the damper ( you open the damper in the chimney ) when he was trying to start a fire once upon a time while smoking up the house and he was also in the yard trying to rake leaves and didn't even know to use a blooming yard rake.... what could he know about historic monuments ???

  • Mike Pearce Sep 11, 7:47 p.m.
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    Pack Cooper up and ship him out also, really they will be as visible at Bentonville Battlefield as they are at our states capital. Has Roy ever been to the battlefield, are we gonna load up that MLK statue on Raleigh Blvd and put it in the battlefield as well? This crowds going to keep on and there's gonna be new civil war vets.......

  • Joe Eastland Sep 11, 7:47 p.m.
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    For example, I'm offended by...
    BET - Black Entertainment Television, now that IS racist.
    FUBU Clothing - Daymond is a RACIST...For Us By Us...how is that ok? Seems racist to me and offends me.
    United Negro College Fund - Racist!!! What if we started a fund and called it "United White College Fund"? Why is one ok but the other would be accused of being controlled by white supremacist or the KKK.
    So this is just a short list of things that OFFEND ME!!!