State

Sons of Confederate Veterans denounce Gov. Cooper, offer reward

Confederate flags frame the confederate soldier monument known as "Silent Sam" during a rally on UNC campus in Chapel Hill. The rally, held in support of keeping the monument on campus, was held by Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County.
Confederate flags frame the confederate soldier monument known as "Silent Sam" during a rally on UNC campus in Chapel Hill. The rally, held in support of keeping the monument on campus, was held by Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County. 2015 News & Observer file photo

The Sons of Confederate Veterans says it will offer rewards in future instances when monuments are torn down and “our government fails to act.”

The North Carolina division of the Confederate heritage group denounced Gov. Roy Cooper’s developing plan to remove Confederate statues from state property, saying his statement announcing his intentions will embolden people who want to pull down more statutes.

A group of protesters in Durham toppled a Confederate statue outside the former Durham County courthouse Monday night. Four people have been charged and three more turned themselves in Thursday, though law enforcement was criticized for what some saw as a slow response.

Sons of Confederate Veterans in North Carolina said in a statement it would offer up to $5,000 for information leading to arrests and convictions in future incidents.

Cities across the country are looking to remove Confederate statues in the aftermath of the violent white supremacists’ rally in Charlottesville last weekend.

Cooper on Tuesday said he wanted a 2015 law protecting monuments repealed and is having the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources figure out how many Confederate monuments are on state-controlled property and how much it would cost to move them to museums or historic sites.

“Some people cling to the belief that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights,” Cooper said in a statement Tuesday. “But history is not on their side. We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery. These monuments should come down.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans said Cooper’s position made its members angry.

“Cooper and his supporters will start with Confederate monuments and will soon be tearing down any and every historical reference that offends their bigoted sensibilities until the very foundation of our nation is wiped from the face of the earth.”

Cooper’s spokesman, Ford Porter, issued a statement Thursday.

“Gov. Cooper believes that our Civil War history is important but that it belongs in textbooks and museums and not on a place of allegiance on the Capitol grounds. As the governor has said, conversations about our state’s racial history are never simple or easy. But we must learn from our past and move forward as a state.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans did not respond to an email.

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner

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