Published July 28th, 2009
The Sons of Confederate Veterans has approved a resolution calling for an economic boycott of the town of Jonesborough.
The group, which is comprised of about 32,000 descendents of Confederate soldiers, held its annual convention last week in Hot Springs, Ark. A resolution drafted and submitted by the Southern Legal Resource Center was introduced during the meeting.
SLRC is a nonprofit organization based in Black Mountain, N.C., which advocates for civil rights in connection with Southern heritage issues.
According to SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie, the boycott is a reaction to the town’s decision to not differentiate between Union and Confederate soldiers on memorial bricks to be placed in the town’s Veteran Memorial Park.
After controversy arose from the town’s previous policy that did not allow for soldiers who fought for the Confederacy to be memorialized in the park, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen amended the policy.
The amended policy allows memorial bricks honoring Confederate soldiers to be placed in the park. The bricks, along with bricks honoring Union soldiers, will be marked “Civil War” rather than differentiating between the two sides — a decision town officials are continuing to stand behind.
According to a news release from SLRC, the organization believes Jonesborough citizens who ordered bricks for Confederate veterans “feel betrayed by the town’s action.”
The resolution approved by the SCV states that the board’s decision “violates both express representations made to persons desiring to purchase Confederate veterans’ bricks, and also contradicts the precedent already established with respect to Union soldiers’ bricks already in place” and that the board “acted in bad faith and our of a cynical and self-serving sense of political expediency and has caused great disappointment and distress to citizens seeking to memorialize Confederate veterans.”
Despite those claims, Mayor Kelly Wolfe said the residents he has spoken with who were previously concerned about the park’s original policy are satisfied with the amendment.
According to Wolfe, memorial bricks honoring Union soldiers which had been purchased prior to the policy amendment have been taken up and will be replaced. Those bricks were marked “U.S. Army” but will be remade to state “Civil War” to avoid discrimination and inconsistency.
The boycott resolution encourages members of the SCV “to refrain from doing any business of any sort with, or spending any monies whatsoever in, the town of Jonesborough for any goods or services whatsoever and that all SCV members … make such boycott known to the general public and encourage all citizens within their respective spheres of acquaintance and influence, likewise to participate in such boycott.”
Despite the SCV’s boycott, Wolfe said he is comfortable that the resolution reached by the board is in the best interest of the residents of Jonesborough.
“Their decision to have a boycott is unfortunate and I don’t believe it is warranted,” Wolfe said, adding that “the Board of Mayor and Aldermen consider the case closed.”