RALEIGH – The monument honoring the contribution of North Carolina women during the Civil War was defaced overnight with black spray paint reading “Black Lives Matter.” The statue that has stood in front of the old Capitol building for more than 100 years in the middle of downtown Raleigh is now getting a good cleaning. Department of Administration workers, armed with scrub brushes and power washes scoured away the paint to reveal the words “To the North Carolina Women of the Confederacy.”
“That’s just awful,” said one women passing by on her way to work. “The statue for women, really?!”
The vandalism comes as lawmakers in the House prepare for a noon session where they are expected to pass Senate Bill 22 on third reading. The Historic Artifact Management and Patriotism Act moves protection and management of American and state flags, monuments and some historical documents to state agencies, in order to “ensure respectful treatment.” It was debated on the floor last night and passed second reading 70-37, after amendments offered by Democrats Rep. Rick Glazier, Rep. Elmer Floyd and Rep. Brian Turner failed. Their amendments would have excluded monuments on state and county property or set up a waiver system for local governments.
“A Civil War hero deserves the same consideration as a World War I hero or a World War II hero,” said Rep. George Cleveland (R-Jacksonville). “Folks would like to see the memorials to these people go away. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do for our history.”
The bill was passed by the Senate back in April, well before the Charleston shooting and subsequent controversy over South Carolina’s display of the Confederate flag. In Senate Bill 22, sponsored by Dan Soucek (R-Watuaga), the North Carolina Historical Commission will be charged with approving display, movement or removal of any monument, memorial or art on state property. The legislation details specific rules for handling an “object of remembrance.” The Secretary of State’s office and the Department of Cultural Resources will maintain historic documents. The legislation also directs the Department of Cultural Resources to make displays of the State Constitution and other documents available to the public in 2016 to mark the 240th anniversary of the ratification of North Carolina’s first constitution.