Why markers go up, why markers come down
July 29, 2010 by Lew Powell
A few words with Michael Hill, coordinator of the N.C. Highway Historical Marker Program:
Of the 7 markers approved in the last round, 5 recognize blacks and 1 a Cherokee. Is the marker advisory committee playing catch-up? Is this a formal policy?
We have no established policy but rather operate based primarily on what comes through the transom. If you check Blacks in the Keywords search box, you’ll see that a heavy proportion of those since I joined the staff in 1982 have been African American. In the broader sense, this might be seen as catch-up but, more precisely, it’s a reflection of public interest.
What caused removal of the marker for Tryon’s March in Polk County in Macon County? How often does this happen?
Removal of markers is uncommon. The note on the remaining Tryon’s March marker page [O-34]
explains the situation, i.e., we got it wrong. Likewise with a Stoneman’s Raid marker in Newton. It’s no longer there; he missed Newton by 40 miles. Irony of ironies, the number once assigned to that marker is now on the Hiram Revels marker in Lincolnton [O-12]
. When Jeff Davis left the Senate, some predicted that one day his seat would be filled by a black man and it came to pass. That man was Revels.
How unusual was Gaston County’s decades-long rejection of a marker for the Loray Mill Strike [O-81]?
Also rare are objections by local parties to a marker. Gastonia is the prime example.
In Raleigh descendants of W. W. Holden at one time opposed mention of impeachment on his marker [H-92]. But it stands today, right outside the N&O office, and indicates that he was impeached and removed.
County commissioners in Greene County were not thrilled about the prospect of the James Glasgow marker [F-66] noting that he was convicted on land fraud charges but they did not stand in the way of its placement.