The current frenzy of hyper-political correctness targeting statues, monuments and other images honoring major Confederate figures, including Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, is fueled in part by an agenda-driven, left-leaning media that craves any opportunity to associate Republicans, especially Southerners, past and present with slavery, bigotry and racism.
This attempted connection is flimsy at best because it is historically inaccurate. It arose simply because Republican President Donald Trump condemned a white supremacist rally (organized in support of preserving a Lee statue) in Charlottesville, VA, in strong terms, while simultaneously condemning violent “antifa” protestors who arrived to disrupt the rally. In no time, statue preservation was re-defined by the media as slavery glorification.
While there are undoubtedly many Southern Republicans who disagree with knee-jerk decisions by city councils and university boards to remove or relocate historically significant statues, fearing this could escalate beyond Civil War-era figures, their opposition has nothing to do with party loyalty. Among the many principals upon which the Republican party was founded, abolition of slavery was one of its most fundamental.
This certainly was a key pillar of the North Carolina Republican Party, which is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding this year. Campbell University Professor Ronnie W. Faulkner, the author of “A Brief History of the North Carolina Republican Party”, notes it was in its early days referred to as “the Radical Party” because it was “associated with abolition.”
“The party took immediate positions in support of Congressional Reconstruction,” Faulkner writes. It also sought “approval of the thirteenth (abolition of slavery) and fourteenth (protecting civil liberties) amendments, and black enfranchisement.”
Its origin dates to March 27, 1867, when “the first interracial political gathering in the history of the state” brought together 101 whites and 46 African Americans … in the Capitol House Chamber in Raleigh,” Faulkner writes.
Celebrations of the 150th anniversary are scheduled across the state, and will continue into early 2018. The Moore County Republican Party is planning a 150th celebration that will coincide with its annual Ronald Reagan Dinner, Feb. 6, 2018.
“I look forward to honoring the activists who have helped us keep the Republican Party a strong force in North Carolina,” said party Chairman Robin Hayes. “Their persistence and determination makes us grateful for the freedoms we have today, and gives us a reason to work for tomorrow. One hundred and fifty years is a milestone that every Republican in North Carolina should celebrate.”