Saturday, February 13, 2010

Capitol Monuments Challenged (Again)

Spring is coming soon, so it's time for the annual attack on Confederate monuments at the North Carolina State Capitol. This time around, the N.C. Historic Commission is concerned about the "underrepresentation of women and ethnic minorities at the State Capitol and on the grounds." The Historic Commission, apparently run by the same crowd who is trying to "diversify" history education in the public schools, now wants to "diversify" the monuments at the Capitol.

While the Historic Commission claims that it does not plan to [immediately] remove any existing monuments, we can expect them to be diluted as new monuments are erected to relatively insignificant ethnic minorities from North Carolina's past. The News & Observer has already begun the process of deriding the existing monuments: "There are already monuments honoring Confederate soldiers killed in the Civil War and white supremacy activist Gov. Charles Aycock." [Question for the N&O: When did Aycock transform from "the education governor" to "white supremacy activist"?]

You have the opportunity to speak in favor of keeping the Capitol grounds as they are by attending public hearings in Asheville (at the YMI Cultural Center) on Monday, 15 February; in Raleigh (at the State Capitol) on Thursday, 18 February; and Greenville (at the Carol Belk Building on the ECU campus) next Monday, 22 February. All of the meetings will be at 7PM. If you can't attend one of these events, please post comments in favor of maintaining the existing Capitol grounds on the blog of the Capitol Memorial Study Committee.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tea Party Takeover

A columnist for the Durham Herald-Sun compares the "Tea Party" movement to the Ku Klux Klan. Paul Scott says the Klan was formed because "following the end of the Civil War, there was a dramatic surge in African American political power." Since Barack Obama is now President, history must be repeating itself. Oh, and both the Klan and the Tea Party held their first conventions in Nashville!

Actually, Nashville has pretty much been a consistent harbinger of death for independent political movements in recent history. It was where the famed Southern Party split in two in 1999, and where the Reform Party was forever fractured just one year later.

Scott says that what the Tea Party considers a "patriot" is "the dude with the Confederate baseball cap and the gun rack in the back of his pickup blastin' Lynard [sic] Skynard [sic]." Sounds like our kind of patriot! But then he writes, "The Dixiecrats of yesterday are the Ultra Right Wing Republicans of today." And that's the rub.

Disparagement of Dixiecrats aside, the convention that took place in Nashville over the weekend is not a product of the same movement that held the Tea Parties across the country last April, or took part in the march on Washington in September. No, this "convention" was just another example of the neoconservatives appropriating honest middle-America dissent for Repubican purposes.

Truth be told, "Tea Party" was a bad name for a 21st-century movement. While we would always encourage people to look to history for inspiration and guidance, yesterday's issues are not today's issues. And after the leftist media began lewdly referring to the protesters as "Teabaggers", the name should have been dumped.

Hopefully, the real American dissenters (taxpayers, independents, libertarians, conservatives) who founded the Tea Parties will not be fooled by the Republican Party's attempt to get them back in line. Let the Republicans be the Teabaggers, while the rest of us keep working for real change.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dumbing Down History (Again)

Once again, North Carolina's educational system is making national headlines. Thanks to Fox News for alerting us to this year's plan by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to remove U.S. history from the course in U.S. history. Under the plan, the required 11th-grade course will now include "U.S. history only from 1877 onward."

Not so fast, says June Atkinson, Superintendent of Public Instruction, who claims the plan increases the amount of history education in the curriculum. "The years prior to reconstruction would have been covered with students three times before - in fourth grade (as part of North Carolina history) in fifth grade and in seventh grade."

However, a closer look at the proposed elementary school curriculum shows what's really going on. The 4th grade class in North Carolina history seems to be transformed into a study of how the North Carolina colonists destroyed the indigenous Native Americans. Fourth graders will now learn to explain the "causes and effects of European exploration and colonization on North Carolina American Indian groups." Fifth graders will learn to "analyze the relationships between European explorers and native peoples."

Things don't get better in middle school. Gone is any mention of the War Between the States in the 7th-grade course in North Carolina history. Instead, our children will learn about "the Indian Removal Act, governmental authority & racial tension during the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898, desegregation during the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education." [Question for DPI: Are there any historic events worth teaching that don't involve discrimination against minority groups?]

This is the same stunt DPI attempted in 2001, when it plotted to remove the middle school course in North Carolina history, all the while claiming that it was actually increasing North Carolina history education. We didn't fall for it then, and after outraged parents showed up at town hall meetings around the state, the N.C. General Assembly amended the General Statutes to require two full years of North Carolina history education in the public schools.

Since DPI apparently didn't learn its lesson, contact your legislators again and let them know that you oppose this plan. North Carolina has too much history for the public schools to ignore it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

International Shakedown Museum

When the new International Civil Rights Museum opened this week in Greensboro NC, it was no surprise that the ribbon was officially cut by Skip Alston and Jesse Jackson.

Jackson is an alumnus of North Carolina A&T, the school whose students sparked the sit-in "movement" at the Woolworth's cafeteria where the museum is located today. Alston, past president of the North Carolina NAACP, is chairman of the non-profit Sit-In Movement, Inc., which was established to develop and run the museum.

It's also not a surprise that the museum has received annual donations in the $250,000 range from the City of Greensboro.

However, what surprises city councilmembers, according to the Rhino Times, is that the museum is actually renting the old Woolworth's building from the for-profit Museum Landlord LLC. And the sole member of this LLC is -- Skip Alston!

Perhaps the city council shouldn't have been surprised. Just last month, it was revealed that Alston convinced the Guilford County Commission (of which he is a member) to put the put the Ole Asheboro hotel project (of which he is a broker) first in line for federal stimulus money!

It seems Alston has learned to play the shakedown game well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

That Bastard Lincoln

North Carolinians have long held that Abraham Lincoln was a bastard, but now even the News & Observer is publicizing that argument.

Folks in Bostic NC claim that Lincoln was born nearby (on Lincoln Hill!) the illegitimate son of Abraham Enloe. Nancy Hanks, the future President's mother, was a servant girl in Enloe's house when she became pregnant and was banished from the Enloe home. She later married Thomas Lincoln, who adopted her infant son Abraham.

We see no reason to wait for DNA testing -- North Carolina should go ahead and stake its claim by adding the original Log Cabin Republican to its "Three Presidents" statue in front of the State Capitol, alongside his vice-president Andrew Johnson. We have a long history of ignoring "official" birthplaces. The monument's centerpiece -- Andy Jackson -- long claimed that he was actually born in South Carolina.