As everywhere else in the state, public opinion on HB2 in Forsyth County was starkly split.
In a one-day special session on March 23, 2016, the N.C. General Assembly had reversed a Charlotte ordinance expanding gay and transgender protections — most controversially, the right to use public restrooms based on gender identity. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill that night, making it a central issue in his unsuccessful campaign for reelection.
On March 30, 2017, after a year of national boycotts and other protests against the “bathroom bill,” the legislature approved a compromise that repealed HB2 but restricted anti-discrimination ordinances in cities and counties. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the measure into law.
“A Meeting of the citizens of Forsyth County, irrespective of party, will be held… to take counsel together on the alarming condition of the country.
“South Carolina has seceded from the Union. Commissioners from Alabama and Mississippi are now at our State capital inviting North Carolina to do the same thing. A great question is now before the people — no less than Union or Disunion.
“Believing that there is safety in the voice of the people, all our fellow-citizens, without regard to party, are earnestly invited to attend.”
(signed) MANY PEOPLE
— From a placard announcing “Public Meeting at Winston…On December 29th, 1860”
Such apprehension about secession wasn’t unique to these “MANY PEOPLE.” North Carolina would become the last state to join the Confederacy, reluctantly seceding on May 20, 1861.