Up & Coming Weekly

June 11, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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4 UCW JUNE 12-18, 2019 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM STAFF PUBLISHER Bill Bowman Bill@upandcomingweekly.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ EDITOR Stephanie Crider editor@upandcomingweekly.com OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Paulette Naylor accounting@upandcomingweekly. com ASSISTANT EDITOR Leslie Pyo leslie@upandcomingweekly.com SENIOR SPORTS EDITOR Earl Vaughan Jr. EarlUCWSports@gmail.com REPORTER Jeff Thompson news@upandcomingweekly.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Elizabeth Long art@upandcomingweekly.com MARKETING ASSOCIATE Linda McAlister Brown linda@upandcomingweekly.com DISTRIBUTION MANAGER/ SALES ADMINISTRATOR Laurel Handforth laurel@upandcomingweekly.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS D.G. Martin, Pitt Dickey, Margaret Dickson, Karl Merritt, John Hood, Jim Jones, Shanessa Fenner, Prudence Mainor, Avery Powers, Elizabeth Blevins ––––––––––– Up & Coming Weekly www.upandcomingweekly.com 208 Rowan St. P.O. Box 53461 Fayetteville, NC 28305 PHONE: 910-484-6200 FAX: 910-484-9218 Up & Coming Weekly is a "Quality of Life" publication with local features, news and information on what's happening in and around the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Up & Coming Weekly is published weekly on Wednesdays. Up & Coming Weekly welcomes manuscripts, photographs and artwork for publication consideration, but assumes no responsibility for them. We cannot accept responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts or material. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the pub- lisher. The publisher reserves the right to edit or reject copy submitted for publication. Up & Coming Weekly is free of charge and distributed at indoor and outdoor locations throughout Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base, Hope Mills and Spring Lake. Readers are limited to one copy per person. © 2019 by F&B Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertisements without permission is strictly prohibited. Various ads with art graphics designed with elements from: vecteezy.com and freepik.com. Two of our high-profile, African-American leaders are playing a pivotal role in shaping a negative perception of a significant state project poised to benefit our community. Fayetteville needs courage to build Civil War Center by TROY WILLIAMS PUBLISHER'S PEN Editor's note: It's no se- cret that Fayetteville is di- vided when it comes to the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center. ank you to e Fayetteville Observer, specifically its executive editor, Matt LeClercq, and WIDU radio co-host Troy Williams, for allowing us to share this important community message and initiative with our Up & Coming Weekly read- ers. is opinion piece by Williams originally ran in e Fayetteville Observer May 25, 2019. One of the storylines circulating since recent discussions about the N.C. Civil War & Recon- struction History Center is that some African-American leaders, including Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin, are worried that the proposed project will attract racists. Before we dive into it, here is an actual quote, courtesy of WUNC Radio. "ere are a lot of people I've spoken with in the community that are con- cerned with the museum itself," Colvin said. "We're trying to bridge the divide here in Fayetteville, we don't want a Charlottesville, Virginia." Colvin has taken some heat for his role in creating this controversy, and to be frank, he should accept full respon- sibility. After all, at one point he said he supported the project. Maybe I'm reading this entirely wrong, but to me, Colvin's original Facebook post's tone and context would suggest that he has changed his mind and is presently against this project. His first post said, "Family, Asheville state representative asking for $10 million for cybersecurity, Greensboro state representative asking for $7 million for mental health pro- gram, Fayetteville/Cumberland County state representative Szoka and Lucas — $46 million for Civil War History Center. Priorities? Tell your state representa- tives we deserve more than this." What did he mean by family? To whom was he referring? Shortly after his post, I asked him if he still sup- ported the project. He said he wasn't necessarily against it, whatever that means. One of his sycophants, a former City Council member, posted in social media referring to the mayor and the project that, "He is not with it." I sent him a screenshot of the post. He said the post did not represent his views, nor did the former council member speak on his behalf. I suggested he counter the comments publicly with a more exact position of his views, and he has thus far resisted doing this. Other members of his inner circle have openly and repeatedly called the History Center a Confederate museum. By his own admission, he says a lot of people are concerned with the mu- seum. at's understandable, especially when fear mongering is involved. In the first place, it's not going to be a muse- um; it's a proposed history center, a dig- itally interactive center on top of that. Of course, there's going to be opposi- tion to this project if citizens believe it's a memorial to the Confederacy, that's a no-brainer. WUNC Radio also interviewed Fayetteville NAACP President Jimmy Buxton, who said, "If we have a bunch of rallies here with the sheets and the Confederate flag, that's going to divide the city. at's going to divide the state. "Even if those who are in charge of this say it's not, this is what racists are thinking — a Civil War museum. When they get here they may be fooled, but they're coming anyway because they feel like what they've been worship- ping all their lives is going to be in this museum," Buxton concluded. Two of our high-profile, African- American leaders are playing a pivotal role in shaping a negative perception of a significant state project poised to benefit our community. e operative word is leadership. However, some might believe, including me, that what's happening is more akin to misleading than leading. Our neighbors in Richmond, Virginia, have a similar museum situation. But their approach is in sharp contrast to our own. Richmond has a rich Confed- erate history. Lest we forget, Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy. In 2016, Richmond elected its youngest mayor, 35-year-old African-American Levar Stoney. Stoney succeeded Dwight Jones, another African-Ameri- can who was preceded by Doug Wilder, the first black to serve as a governor since Reconstruction. About six years ago, Richmond took some bold steps with the creation of the New American Civil War Museum, which they merged with the Museum of the Confederacy with the intent to tell a whole story in hopes of dispelling the myths and misconceptions that linger into the 21st century. Christy Coleman, an African-American female, is the museum's chief executive. e only way to deal with racism is with courage, which the leaders in Richmond decided to do. Have they been overwhelmed with racist pro- testers? e short answer is no, and they are a lot closer to Charlottesville than we are. e difference is they are armed with visionary leadership, which has garnered the attention of e New York Times. Fayetteville has a similar opportunity, and if our present leaders don't get (it), maybe it's time to elect new lead- ers. Homelessness, poverty and other social problems will always be a part of our big picture. But they should never become the reason we cease to strive for excellence in other community pursuits. It's not going to be easy. Fred- erick Douglas said it best, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." Troy Williams is a legal analyst and criminal defense investigator. He is a WIDU radio co-host on ursdays from 11 a.m. to noon. He can be reached at talk2troywilliams@ yahoo.com. TROY WILLIAMS, Radio Co-host, WIDU. COMMENTS? BILL@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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