Thursday, July 23, 2009
SLRC PROPOSES ECONOMIC BOYCOTT OF JONESBOROUGH AFTER TOWN WELSHES ON CONFEDERATE BRICKS PROMISE
HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS – The Southern Legal Resource Center has called for an economic boycott of the Town of Jonesborough, Tennessee, after Jonesborough officials welshed on a “Confederate” designation for memorial bricks honoring Southern Civil War veterans at the town’s Veterans’ Park.
As a first step in the boycott process, the SLRC drafted a resolution for adoption by the 32,000-member Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), whose annual convention, or reunion, is taking place this week in Hot Springs. Approval of the resolution could take place as early as this evening (Wednesday, July 22).
A portion of the park is paved with granite bricks inscribed with the names and service of Jonesborough-area servicemen from the Revolutionary War to the present day The area already contains several bricks honoring Union Civil War veterans and duly marked “U.S. Army.” However, when local citizens sought to purchase bricks honoring Confederate veterans and marked accordingly, they were rebuffed by town officials who said that Confederates were by definition not U.S. veterans.
In June, the SLRC warned Jonesborough mayor Kelly Wolfe by letter that this action was discriminatory. Enclosed with the letter were copies of the Veterans’ Administration’s authorization of Confederate headstones and a 1958 U.S. statute establishing pensions for Confederate veterans. At its next meeting the town council reversed itself and said it would allow purchase of duly inscribed Confederate bricks.
But at its July meeting the council amended its position and said that memorial bricks for that period will carry only the notation “Civil War”, with no indication of which army the honoree served in. The SLRC’s boycott resolution says this action “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 … 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.”
The resolution was authored by SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie, who is a past SCV Chief of Heritage Defense, and will be presented by SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk D. Lyons, a past member of the SCV’s General Executive Council.