Charlotte unable to control the future of the city's Confederate monuments

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Confederate placards, flags and tributes all reside inside a fenced area at Elmwood Cemetery in uptown Charlotte.

By design, it is the largest remembrance of the old south in the Queen City. However, talk during these controversial times of removing monuments and memorials needs clarification.

Historian Dr. Dan Morrill makes it clear that the city of Charlotte can't act on its own.

"A city by ordinance has no authority whatsoever to remove from public property any confederate monument, memorial, statue whatever period. They can't do it," Morrill said.

In contrast, will Governor Roy Cooper's proposal to remove such monuments gain traction with the general assembly? The law that prohibits the removal of confederate statues was passed unanimously by the state senate in 2015, but on the house side Kelly Alexander Jr. voted no.

"If we repeal the statute. It reverts back to local control, and I think that is the appropriate place for it," Representative Alexander said."

Before moving forward, Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles would like to hear from citizens regarding the public placement of such memorials in a forum.

"We need to be able to reach history, but we need to be able dignify it with memorials that are unexplained," Lyles said.

While Morrill understands the purpose and placement of the artifacts, he makes the law very clear.

"You can't get rid of them. The city can't do away with them," he said.

On Friday, state lawmakers will meet in a special session. No votes are expected, but conversations may likely come over confederate monuments.

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