RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law a bill to protect North Carolina’s monuments, including those for Confederates, sparking a strong reaction on Friday.
The bill requires approve from state lawmakers to make any changes to state-owned monuments. McCrory signed the bill Thursday night.
McCrory has said he would like to see the Department of Motor Vehicles stop issuing Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates, which have a Confederate battle flag on them.
That sparked Gerrick Brenner of Progress NC Action to say, “And so we ask, Gov. McCrory, whose side are you on?”
The NAACP and other advocacy groups held a news conference Friday in Durham to address the issue. There have been several incidents of people spray painting words on Confederate monuments in the Triangle, including one to Confederate women on the grounds of the Capitol.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>I remain committed to ensuring that our past, present & future state monuments tell the complete story of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NC?src=hash”>#NC</a>. READ: <a href=”http://t.co/3IkiPb5VvN”>http://t.co/3IkiPb5VvN</a></p>— Pat McCrory (@PatMcCroryNC) <a href=”https://twitter.com/PatMcCroryNC/status/624344528116412418″>July 23, 2015</a></blockquote>
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The issue has been a major one in the South after the Charleston, South Carolina, shootings. South Carolina removed its Confederate flag from its capitol grounds after the shooting.
The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, said of McCrory, “Come on Governor, you don’t want to go down in history like this, that you were the governor that signed the first bill after Charleston to protect the symbols of racism and division.”
Earlier this week, House Speaker Tim Moore defended the monument bill.
“There are those who are trying to interject other political things into this bill, but it simply ensures that war memorials and other monuments are protected and preserved,” Moore said. “And I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s part of our state’s history.”
McCrory said the bill protects the state’s history and is a matter of statewide significance.