Declaring that Civil War history belongs in textbooks and museums, Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday called for the removal of all Confederate monuments from state property.

Cooper has asked the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to find out how much it would cost to remove the monuments and provide options for relocating them to places where they can be “studied in context.”

Cooper’s statement comes the day after a crowd in Durham toppled a Confederate statue outside the old Durham County courthouse and several days after violent clashes between white supremacists and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Va., left one counter protester dead.

“Some people cling to the belief that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights. But history is not on their side,” Cooper wrote in a statement posted to the online publishing platform Medium. “We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery. These monuments should come down.”[signup-embed]

But removing confederate monuments in North Carolina may prove near-impossible for the Democratic governor, thanks to a 2015 law, passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, that prohibit the removal of monuments.

Cooper said he wants the law protecting monuments repealed

“I don’t pretend to know what it’s like for a person of color to pass by one of these monuments and consider that those memorialized in stone and metal did not value my freedom or humanity,” he said. “Unlike an African-American father, I’ll never have to explain to my daughters why there exists an exalted monument for those who wished to keep her and her ancestors in chains.”


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Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.