Yesterday we learned that California is seeking to place a statue of lesbian astronaut Sally Ride in the US Capitol Building. Ride’s statue would replace the statue of 18th century Spanish missionary Junipero Serra, who is about to be canonized by Pope Francis. Now North Carolina lawmakers want to make a switch of their own.
A move is afoot to replace a statue of a racist former governor with one of evangelist Billy Graham in the U.S. Capitol building. General Assembly lawmakers have proposed replacing the statue of Charles Brantley Aycock with one of the Montreat-based preacher, according to joint Senate and House bills filed in the last two weeks in Raleigh. The change would mean North Carolina is represented by two Western North Carolina notables in the National Statuary Hall. The other leader honored is former governor and Buncombe County native Zebulon Vance. Aycock was seen by many as a champion of education and in 1960 Democrats gathering from around the state honored him by naming their annual Asheville gala after Aycock and Vance. But following recent attention drawn to Aycock’s role in the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot, Democrats in 2011 changed the gala’s name. Aycock was chief spokesman for the White Supremacy Campaign when the bloody riot resulted in the overthrow of the elected local government in the only documented coup d’etat in U.S. history.
Replacing a racist with a homophobe? North Carolina, you are so au courant.