North Carolina NAACP unhappy with Governor Pat McCrory on Confederacy issues

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The NAACP and other groups hold a news conference.

NAACP leaders expressed frustration with Governor Pat McCrory Friday over his decision to sign a bill protecting North Carolina Confederate monuments from removal and the continued sale of Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates in the state.

North Carolina NAACP President Reverend William Barber called on the Governor to unaffix his signature from the bill he signed Thursday.

In a statement sent out after the signing, McCrory said he had issues with the bill for removing local control over monuments deemed to commemorate "an event, person or military service that is part of North Carolina's history." It would take an act of the General Assembly to remove such a monument.

But ultimately McCrory, a former mayor of Charlotte, said the bill's "goals" were worthy of his signature.

Critics say any decision to move or change a monument should be up to the community where it stands.

Reverend Barber said Friday that at the very least, the General Assembly should pass a law requiring plaques be added to Confederate monuments explaining who put them up, and why, to better place them in the context of history.

"We're not calling on people to vandalize. I'm not going to paint on a monument any day. But you need to stop vandalizing history by allowing these monuments to sit there like they're noble when they're actual ignoble, when they actually represent a terrible past," said Barber.

The NAACP also echoed other groups that have called on McCrory to take action on the sale of Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates in the state.

McCrory has called for an end to sales of the plates which feature the Confederate Battle Flag, but says he doesn't have the authority to do it himself and the General Assembly will have to act. Senate Leader Phil Berger says the Governor does have that authority.

Thursday, advocacy groups delivered a petition with more than 13,000 signatures to the governor's offices in the old Capitol building, urging McCrory to use his executive authority to halt sales.

After Friday's NAACP news conference, the Governor's office sent out another statement on the issue:

"Governor Pat McCrory has sworn to uphold the constitution. He will not assume powers not provided to him by law and it is clear he does not have the authority to unilaterally stop the issuance of license plates granted to civic organizations such as the Sons of the Confederacy," said Graham Wilson, the governor's press secretary. "Governor McCrory will stop the issuance of the confederate battle flag license plates once the General Assembly provides the legal authority through statute. If the NAACP and the liberal groups are truly interested in stopping these plates from being issued, they will petition the General Assembly. Once Governor McCrory is given the legal authority, he will resolve this issue once and for all."

Critics are not impressed.

"He needs to show a little leadership. Certainly legal ambiguity is not something that's prevented him from taking legal action before," said Kevin Rogers, a spokesman for Action N.C., one of the sponsors of the petition.

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