THE SOUTHERN LEGAL RESOURCE CENTER
U P D A T E
VOLUME XV, NUMBER 7 â— SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER, 2011
Published by the Southern Legal Resource Center
90 Church Street
P.O. Box 1235
Black Mountain, NC 28711
CITY THROWS IN FAIR BOOTH FOR FREE
SCV allowed to display logo, CSA flags
After SLRC’s ‘word of prayer’ with town
ELLENBORO, NC – Following an exchange of calls and e-mails with the SLRC, the annual Colfax Free Fair/Ellenboro School Festival rescinded its restriction on Confederate symbols at the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ booth and even allowed the SCV to participate for free.
The Rutherford Rifles (SCV Camp #2044), which participated in last year’s fair, applied and tendered a check for exhibit space at this year’s event, but were told the camp’s acceptance would be based on no display of the SCV logo or any other Confederate symbol. When camp officers demurred, their application was denied and their check was returned. At that point the camp contacted the SLRC. The SLRC’s investigation revealed that the old schoolgrounds where the fair was to be held were no longer in use as a school, and that at any rate the event was to take place during other than school hours. Accordingly, town authorities had no legitimate basis for denying either the SCV’s participation or the presence of its logo and flags.
SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk Lyons then contacted Chris Campbell, an Asheville lawyer who acts as Ellenboro’s Town Attorney. Campbell checked and reported to Lyons that he had advised fair officials the SLRC was making inquiries, and that they claimed the problem was that the SCV camp had failed to register on time. However, some five minutes after his exchange of e-mails with Campbell, Lyons received a call from the SCV camp commander saying that the camp’s application had been accepted with no restrictions and that the town had waived its registration fee, thus allowing the camp to have its booth free of charge for the duration of the fair.
“I wish they [such cases] were all that easy,” said Lyons, “but this is a good example of the SLRC doing what it does best and most often – working behind the scenes.”
Lexington Ban on Confederate flag display
Offers ‘green light’ to possible litigation
LEXINGTON, VA – The City of Lexington’s recently-enacted ban on “public” displays of the Confederate flag flies in the face of a nearly 20-year-old court decree and could pave the way for a successful challenge in the courts, according to the SLRC.
On September 2, the Lexington City Council voted 4-1 to allow only Virginia and city flags to be flown from city light poles. The new city ordinance also extends to the campuses of Washington and Lee University, where Robert E. Lee served as President when it was Washington College and where he is buried, and Virginia Military Institute, where Gen. T. J. “Stonewall” Jackson once taught mathematics.
However, the new law appears to violate both the spirit and the letter of a 1993 consent decree whereby the SCV prevailed against the City of Lexington in a bid to carry and display Confederate flags during a parade. That precedent, said the SLRC’s Kirk Lyons, would “give the SCV a green light” to initiate legal action against the city if Council attempts to enforce its new ban. Lyons added that the SCV, assisted by the SLRC, will attempt to persuade the city to avoid the possibility of another lawsuit by setting aside the September 2 action.
Records show Reidsville owns damaged Confederate statue after all;
PAC warns city
REIDSVILLE, NC – After months of being a political football, the issue of what to do about Reidsville’s broken Confederate memorial statue appears to have landed squarely back in the lap of city government. And, according to reports, the city finds itself in the crosshairs of a political action group that intends to use legal remedies, if necessary, to enforce the statue’s repair and restoration to the site it had occupied for a century before being toppled by a runaway van this past May.
At the time of the accident, consensus was that the city owned the land on which the statue rested, but the Confederate soldier figure itself was the property of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. A controversy immediately arose between citizens who wanted the statue repaired and restored, and those who saw an opportunity to remove what they termed a painful reminder of slavery. In a move that stunned Southern heritage proponents, state UDC officials told the city they did not wish to pursue restoring the statue because they did not want their organization’s name “dragged through the mud.”
However, 1910 contemporary accounts and correspondence(including a 1911 Confederate Veteran article found by the SLRC) show that the UDC presented the statue to the city as a gift outright according to the Historic Political Action Committee, a group of citizens dedicated to restoring the statue, thus making the present UDC’s wishes a moot point. On September 19, in an eight-page letter to the city manager, the HPAC declared that neither the city nor the UDC has the authority to relocate the monument, and that the city has a duty to maintain it. The letter gave the city 30 days to state its intentions before the HPAC would pursue its legal options.