Friday, June 01, 2007

Wilmington? Forget it.

Blame the messenger: Rep. Thomas Wright of Wilmington, who proposed 10 items of legislation to follow up on the Wilmington 1898 Commission's report on the violent political coup that for 100 years had been called a "riot," is mired in scandal. All but one of his bills seem dead in the water, and that one, one that merely acknowledges that what happened was "a conspiracy of a white elite" (but, as I noted earlier, doesn't really call a spade a spade), "faces uncertainty in the Senate" after passing in the House by only 64-47.

Some commission members, who worked to uncover what had been one of the state's least-known and darkest episodes, say they are concerned that Wright is no longer effective and that their work may not result in the change they had hoped for.
"I had left it up to Rep. Wright to guide us," said Irving Joyner, a law professor at N.C. Central University and the commission's vice chairman. "Now the viability of that strategy is in question."
But is only the messenger to blame?

Leo Daughtry, a Smithfield Republican, was one of those who voted against [the House bill]. He said the legislature should concern itself with the issues of today: roads, public education, taxes. He said he would oppose any plan to fund remembrances of 1898, whether with a monument or with reparations to descendants of victims.
"I don't see where it would serve any purpose at this point to spend money on an event that occurred a hundred years ago that didn't affect any person living today," Daughtry said.

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