Thursday, June 04, 2009


BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC – The Southern Legal Resource Center has admonished the town of Jonesborough, Tennessee, not to exclude memorial bricks honoring Confederate soldiers from a recently renovated veterans’ memorial area at a city park.

The memorial area at Veterans’ Park is paved with some 1,300 bricks each inscribed with the name of a local serviceman. Veterans of all American wars are represented, including three who fought for the Union during the Civil War; however, members of the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans say they were rebuffed by town officials when they sought to contribute bricks memorializing their Confederate ancestors.

In a letter to Jonesborough mayor Kelly Wolfe, SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie pointed out that the U.S. Government has for more than a century made free headstones available for Confederate graves, and that in 1958 a law was passed establishing equal pension rights for Confederate veterans. “Clearly the Government’s intent in these and other actions was to establish that Confederate veterans were to be honored and compensated, in all areas and respects, equally with their Union counterparts,” McCredie told the mayor.

McCredie called the town’s refusal to allow Confederate bricks “blatantly discriminatory” and said officials should “do the legally and morally correct thing by admitting memorials to the Confederate dead to their rightful place in a municipal area set aside for honoring all of Jonesborough’s veterans.”

The SLRC is a federal nonprofit organization that advocates in matters involving Southern history, heritage and culture. The emerging Jonesborough situation has several points in common with a lawsuit the SLRC and its local counsel have brought against the Town of Ringgold, Georgia, McCredie said. In that case, the city erected a Confederate battle flag as an integral part of a brick memorial at its historic train depot, then later removed the flag when certain citizens threatened a boycott of local businesses.

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