The Southern Legal Resource Center eU P D A T E
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Published electronically by the Southern Legal Resource Center
P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC 28711/(828)669-5189/ firstname.lastname@example.org
SLRC PUTS QUESTION TO SLAVERY RESOLUTION SPONSORS:
WILL CONGRESS APOLOGIZE FOR YANKEE WAR CRIMES?
BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC – The Southern Legal Resource Center today began contacting members of the House of Representatives who co-sponsored the recently passed resolution apologizing for Slavery and Jim Crow, asking whether they would consider a similar apology — and possible reparations — for the descendants of Southerners who were victims of Union war crimes during the War Between the States.
First of the resolution’s 120 co-sponsors to be contacted by the SLRC was Heath Shuler, a freshman Democrat representing North Carolina’s Eleventh District. The SLRC hand delivered the following letter to Shuler’s Asheville, N.C., office:
Dear Congressman Shuler:
Last week the House of Representatives passed H.R. 194, a resolution of which you were among the co-sponsors. This resolution was an official Congressional apology for chattel slavery as practiced in the North American colonies and later in the United States, and also for the system of so-called Jim Crow laws which obtained thereafter until the middle of the Twentieth Century.
Since the passage of this resolution the Southern Legal Resource Center has received telephone calls, e-mails and letters from many Southerners, including constituents of yours, asking us to put the following questions to you and your fellow co-sponsors:
1. Are you willing at this time to introduce a similar resolution apologizing for war crimes and depredations that were endorsed by the United States government and carried out as a matter of policy by United States troops against the defenseless civilian population of the South during the years 1861-65?
2. As an extension of such an apology, are you willing to introduce, or would you be willing to endorse, a system of reparations to the descendants of Southerners who suffered loss of life and/or the wanton destruction of their homes, crops and means of livelihood, as well as theft and vandalism of their personal property and wholesale rape, assault and degradation?
These are not rhetorical questions. They are put to you in good faith and in the expectation of your prompt and forthright response. Thank you in advance for your attention.
Yours very truly,
Roger W. McCredie
The SLRC said it will be sending similar letters via surface mail and e-mail to each of the resolution’s other 119 co-sponsors, as well as to its main sponsor, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN). A complete list of co-sponsors may be viewed at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hr110-194. The SLRC urged individuals to contact their local or nearby representatives who may have been co-sponsors and put the same questions to them.
COURT REJECTS SCHOOL ATTORNEYS’ MOTION TO DISMISS HARDWICK CASE
FLORENCE, SC – U.S. District Judge Terry Wooten has denied a motion by attorneys for Dillon County School District #3 to dismiss the case of SLRC client Candice Hardwick, which has been languishing before the court since April of 2006.
Ms. Hardwick brought her suit claiming her rights had been repeatedly violated and that she had suffered discriminatory treatment and unnecessary punishment in connection with Confederate-themed apparel she wore to school. The incidents began while she was still a middle school student and continued into high school. After the suit was filed, both parties filed a series of motions and replies, the latest of which was the defendants’ motion to dismiss, which was entered in October of 2007. As months went by, the court made no response to this motion and the case stood in limbo. Finally, in an effort to elicit some response from the court Chief Trial Counsel Kirk Lyons contacted the clerk of court and asked if the SLRC could file a motion for summary judgment in favor of Ms. Hardwick. “We did this in order to see if we couldn’t break the case loose,” Lyons said. “It had the desired effect; it got us the attention we needed. The court denied the other side’s motion and we are back on course!”
“Kirk can be very clever,” said SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie. “His tactic worked, to our great relief. We were starting to call this case ‘Jarndyce v.Jarndyce.’” McCredie referred to the interminable lawsuit in Dickens’ “Bleak House.”
“Maybe now Candice will get her day in court before she reaches retirement age,” Lyons said.