Secession Movement in Cary NC
Writing in the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer, columnist Ruth Sheehan
points out that many relocated Yankees in Cary NC have finally
grasped the Confederate concepts of local autonomy and states
rights. With the federal government providing incentives for the
Wake County school system to “diversify” its schools, “a group of
Cary parents, with the support of Town Council member Don ‘Robert E.
Lee’ Frantz, has proposed that the town secede” from the school
system. The complete article follows.
REBEL YELL RESOUNDS IN CARY
Ruth Sheehan, Staff Writer
As the daughter-in-law of a woman whose lineage would qualify her to
be a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, I am one
Yankee gal who respects the admonition:
Keep your powder dry!
But who figured it would be a bunch of folks in Cary (as in
Containment Area for Relocated Yankees) who would be fomenting the
first real secession movement since North Carolina voted to dissolve
its ties to the United States in May 1861.
A group of Cary parents, with the support of Town Council member
Don “Robert E. Lee” Frantz, has proposed that the town secede — not
from the union, but from the Wake County Public School system. They
are fed up with their kids being reassigned to new schools — and
then reassigned again. They are fed up with being at the mercy of the
county schools. They want a system of their own.
These parents took their pleas to the Cary Town Council last week.
And while the council didn’t immediately take up arms, er, endorse
the idea, the members did vote to start a countywide task force to
take municipalities’ concerns to the Wake County school board.
I’ve heard the task force will be called, “The way we did it (better)
The task force will no doubt explore everything from the number of at-
large school board seats to the “last resort” of out-and-out breaking
away and seeking legislative authorization to start a separate school
district to serve Cary alone.
For once the General Assembly’s unwavering belief in its own wisdom
might come in handy if articles of secession are ever drawn up.
Many of the Cary confederates were still residing in their wintry
home states when the North Carolina legislature began forcing all but
a handful of counties to consolidate their school districts. The
reasons were sundry, but one key goal was to avoid the sort of
situation that persists in Halifax County, where the Roanoke Rapids
city schools are full of wealthier white kids while the Weldon City
and Halifax County school systems struggle to educate a poorer,
heavily minority population.
Of course, that’s not what’s at work in Cary, which has become a
melting pot of cultures over the years.
Sure, there are complaints about Wake County moving kids around to
achieve economic diversity goals, the school system’s term for
spreading poor kids around the county.
But since fewer than 20 percent of kids are moved for diversity
purposes, that’s just talk. The majority of reassignments are because
of growth — much of it in Cary itself.
Nope, this secession business isn’t about diversity at all.
It isn’t about busing, or the ratio of free- and reduced-lunch kids
in Cary schools.
It’s about control. It’s knowing when you buy the beautiful new house
in that booming new neighborhood, your kids will be going to the same
elementary school, or the same middle school, without being forced to
It’s about a town’s rights to run its own schools.
Which makes sense, given the historical sweep of secession in America.
After all, the Civil War wasn’t about slavery.
It was about states’ rights.