Date: July 27, 2009
SCV PASSES SLRC’S RESOLUTION; JONESBOROUGH BOYCOTT IS OFFICIAL
HOT SPRINGS, AR – A resolution calling for an economic boycott of the town of Jonesborough, Tennessee, was adopted unanimously Saturday at the annual convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, held this year in Hot Springs.
The resolution was drafted and submitted by SCV members on the staff of the Southern Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that advocates for civil rights in connection with Southern heritage issues. It was prompted after Jonesborough officials abruptly altered their policy on the wording of memorial bricks for Confederate veterans at the town’s Veterans’ Park.
The memorial bricks, purchased and paid for by individual donation, are inscribed with the names, units and dates of service of individual local veterans from the Revolutionary War to the present day. Earlier this year, however, town administrators refused to accept applications for bricks in memory of Confederate soldiers, on the grounds that Confederate soldiers did not qualify as U.S. Veterans. Several bricks honoring Union soldiers and inscribed accordingly were already in place at that time. In June the SLRC warned the town that its policy was discriminatory and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to allow Confederate bricks. But at its July meeting the Board reversed itself and said that henceforth all bricks purchased for veterans serving in the 1861-65 conflict would simply be inscribed “Civil War,” with no Union or Confederate designation. Citizens who ordered, or intended to order, bricks for Confederate veterans feel betrayed by the town’s action, which they consider a bad-faith attempt to attract revenue while circumventing the Confederate designation issue.
The SCV, comprised entirely of the descendents of Confederate servicemen, has a total membership of about 32,000 throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. About 2,500 members live in Tennessee.
The text of the boycott resolution is as follows:
SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
2009 INTERNATIONAL REUNION
CALLING FOR THE IMMEDIATE ECONOMIC BOYCOTT
OF THE TOWN OF JONESBOROUGH, TENNESSEE
WHEREAS The town of Jonesborough, Washington County, Tennessee, has and maintains a public park known as Veterans’ Park; and
WHEREAS A portion of this park has been set aside to be paved with granite memorial bricks inscribed with the names of veterans who served in all American wars from the Revolutionary War to the present day, together with the names of their respective units and the conflict during which these veterans served; and
WHEREAS The cost of producing and inscribing these bricks is paid for by individual donations from private citizens in memory of specific veterans; and
WHEREAS The memorial area already contains bricks honoring several Union veterans of the Civil War and duly inscribed “U.S. Army”; and
WHEREAS In the spring of 2009 several persons sought to purchase such bricks in honor of Confederate veterans, only to have such purchase refused by the Town of Jonesborough on the grounds that Confederate soldiers were not United States veterans; and
WHEREAS On behalf of these citizens the Southern Legal Resource Center informed the Hon. Kelly Wolfe, Mayor of Jonesboro, by letter of June 3, 2009, of the discriminatory nature of such exclusion of Confederate veterans, enclosing copies of documents from the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs (now the Veterans’ Administration) establishing the practice of supplying gravestones for Confederate Soldiers, and a copy of Public Law 85-425, as adopted May 23, 1958, establishing federal pensions for surviving Confederate veterans; and
WHEREAS The Jonesborough Town Council, at its meeting on June 9, 2009, voted to allow bricks honoring Confederate Veterans, formatted in the same manner as all other such bricks, to be included in the Veterans’ Park memorial area; and
WHEREAS At its meeting on July 13, 2009, the Town Council amended its previous action and stated that bricks honoring Confederate as well as future bricks honoring Union Civil War Veterans would be inscribed “Civil War” with no reference to either Confederate or Union service; and
WHEREAS This action violates both express representations made to persons desiring to purchase Confederate veterans’ bricks, and also contradicts the precedent already established with respect to Union soldiers’ bricks already in place; and
WHEREAS The Town of Jonesborough has thus 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;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in convention assembled and acting on behalf of its 32,000 members in toto, does hereby encourage our membership to refrain from doing any business of any sort with, or spending any monies whatsoever in, the Town of Jonesborough for any goods or services whatsoever; and that all SCV members, individually and through their respective Camps, Brigades and Divisions, to make such boycott known to the general public and encourage all citizens within their respective spheres of acquaintance and influence, likewise to participate in such boycott.
ADOPTED IN CONVENTION AT HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS, THIS THE 25th DAY OF JULY, 2009.
# # # # #
For additional information, contact:
Roger McCredie or Kirk D. Lyons
The Southern Legal Resource Center