Southern heritage organization proposes Jonesborough boycott after vote on veterans memorial

By Heather Richardson

Published July 22nd, 2009

An economic boycott of the town of Jonesborough has been proposed in reaction to a decision made by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen concerning an amendment made to the town’s Veterans Memorial Park.

The Southern Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that advocates in matters involving Southern history, heritage and culture, has proposed the boycott as a way to show frustrations and disappointment with the board’s decision.

The town’s original policy for the park did not allow for engraved bricks memorializing soldiers who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War to be placed in the park. In June, after much controversy surrounded the issue, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to amend the policy allowing bricks honoring Confederate soldiers to be included in the park. The board chose to send the policy to the Veterans Affairs Committee so it could make the necessary amendments.

When the policy was brought back to the board at the July meeting it had been amended to include the Confederate soldiers’ bricks in the park. The distinction between whether the soldier fought for the Union or for the Confederacy, however, would not be made. The bricks would simply state “Civil War.”

The board approved the policy amendments.

According to SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie, this decision is unacceptable and “violates both express representations made to persons desiring to purchase Confederate bricks and also contradicts the precedent already established with respect to Union soldiers’ bricks already in place.”

As the center’s first step in the boycott process, the SLRC has drafted a resolution for adoption by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The SCV annual convention is taking place this week in Hot Springs, Ark. McCredie said the resolution would be presented to them at the convention and a decision would be made this week.

The resolution states that “the town of Jonesborough has acted in bad faith and out of a cynical and self-serving sense of political expediency, and has caused great disappointment and distress to citizens seeking to memorialize Confederate veterans.”

McCredie said that along with looking into the legal issues of possible contractual agreements being broken, the center is proposing the economic boycott to express their disappointments and frustrations.

“We chose this course of action quite frankly because of the reality that Jonesborough is a tourism town,” McCredie said.

The boycott “encourages all members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to refrain from purchasing any goods or services from any merchant or representative or form of entertainment within the town of Jonesborough, Tennessee, and to encourage others to do likewise,” McCredie said.

According to McCredie, the SCV includes about 32,000 members with 3,000 to 4,000 located in Tennessee.

“These are people who are all potential customers of the town of Jonesborough,” McCredie said. “That gives you an insight into why that course of action would be taken.”

© 2009 Kingsport Publishing Corporation

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