CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - This week, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called for all the state's Confederate Monuments to be removed. Here in North Carolina, however, it's not that simple.
"The challenge we have is the state legislature passed a law in 2015 prohibiting removal of Confederate Monuments," said Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts.
"Clearly, on public property, and city and county land-- the monuments need to go," Roberts said. It's a statement she first brought up years ago, and one she continues to stand by.
"Confederate Monuments should be removed. They belong in history museums. They're a painful part of our history. There is no ambiguity or grey area-- the values of slavery and separation and segregation are wrong and against civil rights, human rights-- and that's an important thing people studying history need to know," Roberts said.
One of the city's largest Confederate Monuments, though, lies at Elmwood Cemetery-- which brings forth more questions.
"When it comes to markers at cemeteries, because those are commemorating the dead, that is worth a broader community discussion," said Roberts. "There is something about that sacred ground that makes it a different story."
These monuments are continuing to create conversations in cities all across the country.
"These kinds of conversations of division and concern that history will replay itself-- when you see supremacist groups using the same language, when you see Nazi sympathizers demeaning Jewish people-- when you see them inciting acts of violence-- it's illegal, it's unconstitutional, it's wrong, and we need to put an end to it," Roberts said.
All across the country, Confederate Monuments are being removed. In Baltimore, they were taken down overnight without notice. Mayor Catherine Pugh removed all four of the city's Confederate Monuments before the sun came up.
The Mayor said she moved "quickly and quietly" in an effort to avoid potential conflicts like the one in Charlottesville-- citing public safety as her top concern.
The North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans released this statement:
"The North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans decries remarks made by Governor Roy Cooper that monuments in memory of veterans across the state should be removed. Cooper's decision to speak in such a manner and to disregard the contributions of people who made this state what it is today dismays and angers us tremendously.
This week in particular, the brave Tarheels who served in the Confederate armed forces during the War between the States have been wrongly defamed and dishonored. Their memory has been tarnished by the media, violent mobs, and opportunistic politicians despite the fact they fought for their homes and families in their struggle against an oppressive government. Sentiments that the mob now ironically adopt as their own.
Cooper's words have endorsed and emboldened those who have no respect for our public property and doubtless he will wryly smile as the mob pulls down more monuments in defiance of law and order. Accordingly, our organization will offer rewards up to $5,000 for information leading to arrests and convictions in future incidents where our government fails to act.
Those who do not see this as just the beginning are willfully ignorant. Cooper and his supporters will start with Confederate monuments and will soon be tearing down any and every historical reference that offends their bigoted sensibilities until the very foundation of our nation is wiped from the face of the earth."