HPAC and the Reidsville (NC) Confederate Monument
Date: Sat, Sep 24, 2011
Subject: [NCSouth] HPAC and the Reidsville (NC) Confederate Monument
The Reidsville (NC) Review reports below that HPAC has raised serious legal questions about the under-the-table agreement between the City of Reidsville and the United Daughters of the Confederacy to remove Reidsville’s Confederate monument. The monument is public property, and decisions about the monument should be made in public, with citizen participation.
Contact the following individuals and ask them to work with HPAC to follow the proper legal process for deciding the future of the Confederate monument.
– Michael J. Pearce, City Manager, 230 W. Morehead Street, Reidsville NC 27320, Phone: (336) 349-1030, Fax: (336) 342-3649, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– James K. Festerman, Mayor, 1201 Benton Lane, Reidsville NC 27320, Phone: (336) 349-6146, Fax: (336) 616-0850, Email: email@example.com
– Tom Balsley, Mayor Pro Tem, 713 Country Club Drive, Reidsville NC 27320, Phone: (336) 349-3638, Fax: (336) 394-4576
– Richard B. Johnson, 2214 S. Scales Street, Reidsville NC 27320, Phone: (336) 552-9764, Fax: (336) 342-3106
– John H. Henderson, 1201 Lyle Street, Reidsville NC 27320, Phone: (336) 349-4105, Fax: (336) 634-1205
– W. Clark Turner, 705 S. Main Street, Reidsville NC 27320, Phone: (336) 349-7972, Fax: (336) 634-0791
– George O. Rucker, 508 Staples Street, Reidsville NC 27320, Phone: (336) 342-2109, Fax: (336) 349-2873
– Joan M. Zdanski, 910 Lawndale Drive, Apt. 107D, Reidsville NC 27320, Phone: (336) 342-0727, Fax: (336) 342-6158
The complete article follows. To contribute to HPAC’s legal battle, please send contributions to HPAC at P.O. Box 684, Reidsville, NC 27323.
GROUP MAY SEEK LEGAL OPTIONS OVER CONFEDERATE MONUMENT
By: Danielle Battaglia
Published: September 23, 2011
The controversy over Reidsville’s Confederate monument reignited this week after a newly formed group sent a letter to the city.
The group, which refers to itself as the Historical Political Action Committee (HPAC), sent an eight-page letter to Reidsville City Manager Michael Pearce on Tuesday saying it feels the actions of the city of Reidsville and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) are illegal.
The 101-year old Reidsville Confederate Monument was destroyed just before 5 a.m. on May 23 when 40-year old Mark Anthony Vincent of Greensboro fell asleep behind the wheel of his van and crashed into the monument in the roundabout on the intersection of West Morehead and Scales streets.
The group said in its letter the UDC does not actually own the monument, as the city previously determined. The city attorneys failed to find any information leading the city to believe the monument was a gift to them. The HPAC found in a Reidsville Review article dated July 1, 1910, a quote spoken during the unveiling of the monument, from the former Mayor Francis Womack saying, "It is therefore with profoundest gratitude that I am privileged, in behalf of the entire community, to accept from your hands this magnificent gift to our municipality."
The group also found in a May 13, 1910, article from the Reidsville Review a quote from the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) about the ownership of the monument. The quote read, "the new monument had been donated to the municipality of Reidsville and is now the property of the town."
These quotes lead the HPAC to conclude the monument was in fact a gift to the city of Reidsville and the state UDC should not have a say in what happens to the monument.
However, the HPAC doesn’t believe the city owns the monument anymore, after finding documentation, in 1921 and 1931, the city transferred ownership of both the monument and the land in the intersection to the state.
The group says in 1941 the North Carolina General Assembly vested the monument with additional legal protection against being removed or relocated from the intersection.
Further, Scales Street was named State Road 2670 and Morehead became State Road 2544, which means the monument is sitting in the intersection of two state roads.
The HPAC found, in the Proctor v. State Highway and Public Works Commission case, it was determined if the state acquired the land on which the monument stood. The state also acquired the monument. HPAC went on to say the state clearly owned the land, since no owner came forward to remove or relocate the monument. According to the National Advertising Co. v. NCDOT, anyone who lays claim to personal property on land acquired by the state is required to remove it within a reasonable time or it becomes state property.
Eighty years later the monument remained in the same location, according to the letter.
The letter also detailed the creation of the North Carolina Historical Commission by the state and legislation which was passed saying to remove, relocate or alter in anyway without the approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission would be illegal.
The group believes moving the base of this statue was in direct violation of this legislature.
The HPAC acknowledged in the letter the city may not have been aware their actions were illegal and the group is giving city officials 30 days to respond. The HPAC said in the letter it is considering legal options if the monument is not placed back in the intersection of Scales and Morehead streets.