Is The Black Community Black Enough – Getting Away With Wrong Doing

In the 1960’s Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson showed up where ever racial incidents occurred. Over the years, we have countless photographs that show them standing in the front row, mourning with a mother, praying with groups who suffered another injustice. They have spent their adult lives advancing black Americans.

Sixty years later in every area of American life, blacks have succeeded in making a lasting contribution in fields of academia, and medicine, cooperate life and politics, music and athletics; they have become famous writers, lawyers, and architects. We have had a black president. There are black senators, and congressman, an attorney general, a Director of Housing; the list goes on. The military is replete with black leadership at the highest levels.

Then what explains the presence of Al Sharpton sixty years later still preaching victimization? How do we understand our black city councilmen and others in the community still blaming the past for what’s wrong with today? The monument must come down because it keeps us captured in the past. Over and over we hear this victimization manta that ends with – therefore we deserve this! The Edgecombe side of Main Street has never had a hotel – therefore we deserve one. Al Sharpton said, We don’t owe America anything – America owes us.

The rhetoric of sixty years ago no longer states the case, now does it? The notion of oppression is not a valid argument when faced with the facts that blacks have been successful across the board in American life. The power struggle comes from those who have made a living off of telling other blacks they are victims of racism. In fact, you aren’t black enough if you dare to think otherwise. You are an Uncle Tom, if you dare think for yourself and accept that past injustices have run their course. There is nary a peep about Personal responsibility that is today’s admonition.  As long as some of our black leadership can preach ‘we are owed this or that’ and are believed, those black enough will keep covering for those whose misconduct they accept because they deserve what they have taken.

I have thrown caution to the wind here with this post. You can blame it on Al Sharpton during these last days of tragedy. Today’s world in which blacks live is a far cry from those who grew up when segregation, and its injustices flourished. To equate then with now, as if nothing has changed, is a great dishonoring of those who bore the burden of change. Today a black boy can grow up to be the President of the United States. Better check out who the victimizers are today. They are the ones whose anger and resentment pour down upon us with racial accusations declaring that white people are the cause of your troubles. Are you sure?

Sharing: A Randy Adcox ‘Concerned Citizens’ Post – Removal of the Monument Vote Takes Place During A Budget Meeting

A Finely Crafted Opinion Piece By Randy Adcox –          June 3, 2020

By now many of you have probably heard about the city council voting 6-1 yesterday to move our Confederate Monument. Last night, I watched the video of the yesterday’s proceedings and frankly, I have mixed feelings about what I saw. My first thought, like many of you, was extreme sadness and disappointment. And yes, anger. The fact that this vote was taken during a *budget* meeting, as opposed to a regular, “public” city council meeting, made it seem all the more perverse. In a time when we want our government to be MORE transparent, we have our own city government making these kinds of decisions in what essentially amounted to a “closed session” to the public. It just wreaks of a LACK of transparency and bad judgement. I’ve been told a “formal”, public vote will take place at Monday’s regular scheduled council meeting, but like a LOT of decisions made by this council in the past, it’s already a “done deal”. The public has no input or “say so” in the matter, because the council has already made the decision to move it.

Aside from the “cloak and dagger” manner in which this vote was cast, I was also bothered by a couple other points that were made during the discussion phase of this vote yesterday. First, the question of the legality of moving the monument. Council member Lige Daughtridge brought up the legal aspect of who owns the land, and whether or not the monument can *legally* be moved, and stressed that he didn’t want to see the city put itself in any sort of legal “bind” by doing something that was contrary to state law. Council member Andre Knight responded to Daughtridge’s concerns by commenting that he felt like the council itself should be more concerned with doing what is *right*, as opposed to doing what is *legal* (anyone else see the obscene irony in Mr. Knight’s comments?). The fact of the matter is that it IS illegal for the city to move that monument, unless it’s moved to an area of “equal access and equal prominence”. Moving it to private property, out of public view is also against the law. Putting it in storage for “safe keeping” is against the law, too. There’s no ambiguity here about what our state law says about historical artifacts. And Andre Knight knows this, because I told him so myself in a city council meeting two years ago!

The other (and equally disturbing) comment I heard was from council member T.J. Walker, who stated that while he was opposed to violence and the destruction of private property, “his generation” was likely to tear down the monument if it’s left standing, and this was his basis for voting in favor of removing the monument from its current location. In other words, because there are some young peoole in this city who are likely to tear the monument down anyway, we should go ahead and take it down before they destroy it. Here’s a thought, why wouldn’t we instead EDUCATE our young people about history, and the reason why that monument was erected in the first place? And why wouldn’t we stress to them that anarchy and lawlessness is NOT the way a civilized society acts? I guess it’s just easier to remove anything that’s likely to cause them “emotional duress” from their view, and “protect” them from the big ol’ mean world in which we live, huh?

I also found it disturbing that this council is willing to undertake this action after they have obtained overwhelming evidence over the last couple of years, that this monument just isn’t on most people’s radar. The four public meetings held two years ago (at a cost of $40,000!) CLEARLY showed that the vast majority of people in this city are completely indifferent about that monument. Leave it alone, tear it down…MOST people in this city, black and white alike, simply don’t CARE! Why on earth do we have to spend the thousands of dollars required to move this monument, because a handful of people take offense at it being there? The answer is simply because this has been a promise made by council members Knight and Blackwell, to some of their most ardent supporters. It’s that simple. It’s certainly not because there’s been a huge public outcry to take it down.
Lastly, my biggest concern is that if this council moves forward with these plans to take this monument down and “store it for safe keeping” as council member Blackwell stated, we’ll never see it again. And to me, that would truly be a miscarriage of justice. That monument has stood for over a hundred years. It’s been a defining piece of this city’s skyline, and it’s been a memorial to our war dead since 1977 when it was rededicated to the memory of ALL of our war veterans. In spite of what some believe, that monument does indeed have “value”. And the messages inscribed on it are messages of hope and honor, not oppression and shame. Those who look upon that monument and see ugliness and hate, see those things because that’s what they CHOOSE to see. And that my friends isn’t a problem caused by that monument simply *being* there; it’s caused by a lack of understanding and a lack of knowledge. Taking that monument down won’t solve a single problem we have in this city. It won’t feed a single hungry person, nor house a single homeless person, nor help a single struggling family put food on the table.

The ONLY thing that will be accomplished by removing that monument from its rightful resting place, is that we’ll be hiding a portion of our local history from future generations. And to what benefit? What will we gain from taking down a monument that has stood all these years? The hatred that exists in the hearts of some people in this town, won’t be erased by taking down that monument, and not a single person will be better off afterwards. Let’s at least be honest about what’s happening here and not try to pass it off as something it’s not. What it’s NOT, is “doing the right thing”. What it IS, is allowing Andre Knight and those who agree with him, to have a “victory”. At taxpayer expense!


Public Hearings on Battle Park: Hoping For A Different Outcome?

W.C. Fields (1880-1946) American comedian and actor says it best.  “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.” 

If you have children you’ve experienced this maneuver. Ask Mom, and if she says no, ask Dad, maybe he’ll say yes. The outcome was perfectly clear when we discussed the monument at Battle Park at three previous hearings at the Booker T. Theater. “Leave it alone!” That wasn’t the desired answer so let’s see how it goes this time.

TODAY: Come give your input on the Battle Park Master Plan from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences.

This removal of monument-business was underway, but it wasn’t until General Robert E. Lee’s statue in Richmond, VA. came under attack that I awakened. This event changed my reading life. I was incensed, knowing that editing our history for better or worse was another assault to fundamentally change America. The truth of the matter was, I knew very little about Lee. I had a once over lightly acquaintance that included names of leaders and battles during the Civil War. Being honest with myself, I knew little about the men and women whose leadership and direction formed the world I grew up in. Who were these people that formed the backdrop of my life?  Almost overnight, I had to know. I started with Charles Braclean Rood’s Lee: The Last Years, to Michael Korda’s, Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E.Lee, and Mark Perry’s Grant and Twain: The Story of Friends. On to a dozen books on F.D.Roosevelt, and a dozen Churchhill books, many of our Presidents. (I would love to talk to you about President Garfield.) These books and many more have enriched my life. Had I missed them, how poor I would be.  One thing became apparent: The lives of each of these men are intertwined forever. Their friendships, their conflicts with one another, admired or suspect, they became what was needed in their day and time, and together they are who we have become. For better or worse, in sickness and in health.

It isn’t just the monument, but all the lives that are intertwined, each significant. Today we have a different understanding of our history. Confederate monuments honor all those who gave their lives and now declare the progress that has taken place. This is something to celebrate that does not require removal.  Through my Norman Rockwell glasses, I see the parade assembled the day the monument was dedicated. We’ve all been to parades. Decorating bikes, music, the young scouts who were hauled out of bed early to be sure they had a bath and hair slicked down in time to march that day. Each with a story.  In spite of this ‘master plan’meeting, I guarantee you, in the light of all we have on our plate to be getting on with in Rocky Mount, Battle Park is not nor should it be, a priority. You can forget using the park plan as a foil to get to the monument again. “Leave it alone!”

Reporting On The Battle Park Public Input Meeting – 2/27/20

(Stepheny in an excited voice quoting Julian of Norwich)                                                             “All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

I came home from the Public Input Meeting where those in attendance selected the activities that they would like to have available at Battle Park. We looked at a series of wonderful photographs where each of us placed 8 blue dots on the things we would like to have included in the new plan and one yellow dot for our #1 choice. My yellow dot was placed on the photo of accessible walking. But my blue dots included things I know my grandchildren would love. A treehouse, playing in the stream…..It was a simple exercise, one that will be repeated Monday, March 2 at 10:00 AM at the Imperial Center. It doesn’t take long to make your selections.

This Public Input is part of the grant process that includes different steps that must be completed when applying for the multiple grants that are available.  One of the stewards of this Master Plan update is the landscape architect firm, CLH Designs. They have a fine presentation to bring home and read on your own. I can tell you that looking at the possibilities are exciting. Upon completion, we will have a significant and valuable piece to add to the Rocky Mount  Revitalization puzzle that is being worked on. It will offer the community in a reimagined way an experience immersed in nature only a short car ride from home.

I am reassured that this is not a foil to take another crack at removing the monument. Judging by the response to yesterday’s blog post, there is no doubt that the monument is to be left alone! One on one, I expressed the concern that we have gone through these public meetings before with the ‘input’ from the public left in a drawer, never to be seen again. Fool me once, but not twice. You know I am the eternal optimist so I  believe that the reimagined Battle Park will be one of the favorite destinations that everyone will enjoy. I’m glad I went and encourage you to do the same. I might add that I am relieved to find professional people in charge of a worthy project.

PS: My friend, Debbie Zavidil and I stood contemplating the zip line choice. She was ready to try it. I told her I would stay on the ground and cheer her on. I may change my mind if it is included in the new plan based on the premise, if not now, when? (The days grow short when you reach September.)