NATIONAL NEWS

Confederate monument to ‘faithful slaves’ must be removed, North Carolina residents’ lawsuit says

May 21, 2024, 3:17 PM | Updated: 3:22 pm

COLUMBIA, N.C. (AP) — A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday seeks the removal of a Confederate monument marked as “in appreciation of our faithful slaves” from outside of a North Carolina county courthouse.

The Concerned Citizens of Tyrrell County, a civic group focused on issues facing local Black residents, and several of its members filed the lawsuit against the county’s commissioners. The legal complaint argues that the monument constitutes racially discriminatory government speech in violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

Tyrrell County includes a few thousand residents in eastern North Carolina. The monument, which was erected on the courthouse grounds in 1902, features a Confederate soldier standing atop a pedestal, with one of the markings below mentioning “faithful slaves.” The lawsuit argues that the monument conveys a racist and offensive message that Black people who were enslaved in the county preferred slavery to freedom.

“The point of putting such a monument near the door of the Tyrrell County Courthouse was to remind Black people that the county’s institutions saw their rightful place as one of subservience and obedience, and to suggest to them that they could not and would not get justice in the courts,” the lawsuit argues.

The Associated Press contacted the Tyrrell County manager via email requesting a comment on the lawsuit.

North Carolina legislators enacted a law in 2015 that limits when an “object of remembrance” such as a military monument can be relocated. Still, the lawsuit says more than a dozen Confederate monuments have been taken down in North Carolina in the past five years, many due to votes by local officials.

Others were removed by force. In 2018, protesters tore down a Confederate statue citing public safety, directed that the remainder of the monument and two others on Capitol grounds be removed.

Confederate monuments in North Carolina, as elsewhere nationwide, were a frequent focal point for racial inequality protests in the late 2010s, and particularly in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

The Concerned Citizens of Tyrrell County wrote that they have fought for the courthouse monument’s removal for years, from testifying at county commission meetings to advertising on billboards.

National News

Associated Press

New York requiring paid break time for moms who need to pump breast milk at work, under new law

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York moms returning to work after giving birth will now get paid break time when they need to pump breast milk at their jobs, under a new law that took effect Wednesday. Gov. Kathy Hochul said the law requires employers in the state to provide a half hour of paid […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Cooler temps and rain could help corral blazes that forced thousands to flee New Mexico village

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Cooler weather — and the chance of rain — could bring some relief but also the risk of danger this week to firefighters battling blazes in southern New Mexico that killed one person, damaged hundreds of structures and forced thousands to evacuate. Strong wind pushed the larger of two wildfires into […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Immigrant families rejoice over Biden’s expansive move toward citizenship, while some are left out

HOUSTON (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of immigrants had reason to rejoice when President Joe Biden unveiled a highly expansive plan to extend legal status to spouses of U.S. citizens but, inevitably, some were left out. Claudia Zúniga, 35, married in 2017, or 10 years after her husband came to the United States. He moved […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Early blast of heat and humidity leaves millions sweltering across the US

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A blast of heat and humidity in the Midwest and Northeast days before the official start of summer put a wet blanket on outdoor activities from festivals to sports camps as officials urged people to take precautions. Cities that opened cooling centers this week advised that Wednesday’s Juneteenth holiday means some […]

12 hours ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

16 hours ago

Associated Press

California man charged with killing gay college student takes the stand

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California man charged with killing a gay University of Pennsylvania student in an alleged hate crime six years ago testified Tuesday about how the two men connected on social media and went to a park. It was the last time the victim was seen. Samuel Woodward, 26, took the […]

17 hours ago

Confederate monument to ‘faithful slaves’ must be removed, North Carolina residents’ lawsuit says