Vance-Aycock Decompression and The Scary Truth About Jim Neal

I'll start with what you really came here for: the truth about Jim Neal. This site is boiling to the brim over the possibility of Rep. Martin running for the Senate, especially now that Sen. Hagan is out of the race (according to a few who could be counted on to know attending the Vance-Aycock dinner). So I'm sure you want the dirt on this Neal guy so that you can throw it back at him if Rep. Martin runs. Unfortunately for those who get their kicks from schadenfreude, Neal showed himself to be a nice, likable guy with a full-shoe operation.

I was among the first visitors to the Neal party around 3:30. For a campaign's first semi-public event, I was impressed by the preparation, effort, and visible staff. I was still in my canvassing clothes - YDNC and NCFCD were on the street for city council candidates in Asheville in the morning and through lunch time - but that didn't bother Jim, who was out of his coat by the night's end and made sure I did the same.

At first, politics wasn't the topic as much as the important things in life: family, education, and ACC basketball. But as the day went on and guests came in, it became apparent that Jim's heart, soul, and tone were in touch with my kind of Democratic politics.

Jim: This general election shouldn't be hard since it's an open seat - you have to live in the state to run for Senate, right?

Note: I'm paraphrasing a little.

Neal welcomed a primary challenge should it materialize, and had nothing but good things to say about Grier. Obviously, I want to see more from the Neal campaign, and they're going to have a tough time getting my vote if a Wildcat is in the race, but Jim knew how to make one hell of a first impression. I hope one truth doesn't scare you: Jim could win the general and the primary.

::

As previously mentioned, my day in the Land of the Sky kicked off with the NCFCD/YDNC canvass, where 30-40 people appeared to help out Bryan Freeborn and Brownie Newman, two Democratic incumbents who asked for our help in keeping their seats on the Asheville City Council. I missed the eventful breakfast which some said lasted to long, but I think I had more fun helping the canvass reach over 1000 voters in time for Tuesday's non-partisan primary. Who wants breakfast when you can take in the most beautiful city skyline in North Carolina?

I spent most of my time between the end of the canvass and the dinner in the Neal for Senate hospitality suite, but also visited the Long and Cowell suites by the end of the night. After running in to a large sample of my high school graduating class in the halls of the Grove Park Inn, I made my way to the dinner, which I'm sure will be covered with more completeness by another poster here.

Jerry Meek gave a rousing speech with a focus on the recent controversy over half of the event's name. Jerry nailed it, juxtaposing what today's Democratic Party stands for with how that other, morally bankrupt party acts today, attempting to cast aspersions using events from a far off time while presenting no vision for tomorrow.

After an award, a few standing ovations, and WNC's newest congressman, Mudcat spanned the range of human emotions and told a few funny stories on his way to emphasizing an important point, that what makes us great as a party is that we accept one another as God's children; that we have advanced the tone of social relations in the country by having black friends and white friends and gay friends. While light on talking points for winning the "Bubba" vote, Mudcat crystallized the reasons behind why we came together as Democrats that night.

Sam, Chairman, Rep, Future Senator, and Drew

After filling up on more gossip than a month's worth of Soup could dish out and a few more hospitality suite visits, a great night came to a close. But by the end, I had every reason to believe that the next 13 months will be the time of our lives.

Front-paged by Anglico

Comments

I'll close with a thought in Sunday's Observer

From Ed Williams:

Surely today's Democrats can find heroes who represent the party's modern values. But as to the larger question, Shakespeare had it right: "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."

What of our flawed leaders of yesteryear? Should we toss them into history's garbage dump?

No. We should recognize their achievements, ponder their errors -- and consider whether, a century from now, any of our own beliefs and practices today may be judged inexcusable.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Jim could win the general and the primary

This is encouraging news. If there is a primary, I sure hope it will be a more civilized affair than the one going on for the governor's mansion.


"If boiling people alive best served the interests of the American people, then it would neither be moral or immoral." Max Borders, Civitas Institute

I can all but assure you it will be.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Thanks for my first look at Jim Neal.

I will be interested to hear more from him over the next 13 months - primary or not.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Which one

"Jerry Meek gave a rousing speech with a focus on the recent controversy over half of the event's name."

As a history major I am familiar with both Gov Vance and Gov. Aycock I find no reason to have any doubts on either one so why did Jerry Meek see reason to do so.

Umm...

As a history major I am familiar with both Gov Vance and Gov. Aycock I find no reason to have any doubts on either one so why did Jerry Meek see reason to do so.

As a History major I can find ample reason to doubt both of these guys, but I don't want to crap all over Sam's blog to do so.

No need to "crap on dairy"

I just was not sure which one Jerry Meek was unsure of and why. Both Governors were bestowed their respected honor for a reason. That reason was there tireless work in the field of education. Today North Carolina has the finest education system system in the South if not the nation. Gov. Vance became the first Governor following reconstruction, or what was also called "Radical Republicanism" these governments were perhaps the most corrupt and inept governments in our nations history, which the only thing keeping them from falling was federal troops. When Radical Republicanism fell, many southern states fell into a mob rule North Carolina was one of the exceptions and it is believed the credit to that goes to Gov Vance, as Governor his fame for North Carolina was establish standards for both schools and teachers making the state's schools the envy of the south. Gov. Aycock picked up on that and began the drive to give this state a college system which has both affordable and high in quaility. The 16 campus UNC system which is Gov Aycock's contribution to the state has been copied by many other state's but in my opinion it is still the best.

That is why they are considered the best of the best of the history of the state Democratic party. If you call that crap it is your choice.

You'll get an argument.

For a long time I had a quote by Andrew Jackson as my sig. Every couple days at Daily Kos I would get someone telling me I should delete the quote and that Jackson's legacy was that of genocide to the ancient Americans.
I think you'll hear much the same here, although I am not sure. Basically, they might have done all that you listed above, but at least one of them (from what I've read here) is damned by his treatment of minorities.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

If you are right then it is sad.

Andrew Jackson was a great President who said and did great things, he was also the father of the Democratic party. He however was a statesman who was shaping a country in the early 1800's not one who was trying to be the Lords Messiah. In the the end Jacksons contribution's outwiegh his flaws though he had them. The same can be said for Gov Vance and Gov Aycock. But it would appear that some readers here are damming one or both of our state's and parties most forefathers for reasons that I think do not add up, without saying which one and why.

I didn't say

Vance and Aycock made no contribution to North Carolina, or that their good works were crap. I was responding to this:

I find no reason to have any doubts

This kind of blanket statement is steeped in subjectivity, which is not only at odds with progressive ideals, it's an unfortunate position for a Historian to take as well.

And yes, Robert, Andy Jackson is directly responsible for human suffering on a level that far surpasses many historically "evil" personages, and should not be the subject of admiration or emulation.

no reason to have doubts

Does not mean these men were on the category of Jesus Christ. What that means is whatever faults they had, thier contribution far outweighs them. Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan had association with gambling will it taint their legacy, perhaps a little but in the end not much. Gov's Vance and Aycock did more than just make some contribution, they made a lasting effect on the states education systems which most of the states residents still receive benefits. That is why the party bestowed them, that is why they are still bestowed, and what ever faults they may have had are just not really worth mentioning, considering historians far greater than I have had more than a century to do so but chose against it and only now you wish to but without any real substance.

I will let

Treasurer Moore present the evidence:

The tactics Aycock embraced -- fear, hatred, and voter intimidation at the hands of a band of 'red shirts' -- must be acknowledged and repudiated.

Under the Dome brought up the following in the paragraph before that:

But he was also the voice of white supremacy campaigns of 1898 and 1900 that led to the disfranchisement of black voters.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

So its Aycock and the election of 1898

What ever role he may have played in it is mentioned is Wikipedia but here is what they way of him in total.

"As governor, Aycock became known as the "Education Governor" for his support of the public school system. It was said that one school was constructed in the state for every day he was in office. He was supposedly dedicated to education after watching his mother make her mark when signing a deed. He felt that no lasting social reform could be accomplished without education. He supported increased salaries for teachers, longer school terms, and new school buildings; "690 new schoolhouses erected, including 599 for whites and 91 for blacks."[1] Other reforms he supported included laws to establish fair election machinery, to prevent lynching, to erect a reformatory for boys, and to restrict child labor.[citation needed]

According to John Beck, Wendy Frandsen, and Aaron Randall of Vance-Granville Community College, "Charles B. Aycock--the same Charles B. Aycock who helped lead the White Supremacy Campaign--is generally considered the state’s first progressive governor. Despite Aycock’s unsavory role as a white supremacist, he is still remembered and honored in the state today as the father of public education, and there are few counties in the state where one cannot find a public school named after him."[2]"

Also here is what Sen Kerr say about Moore quote,
http://www.newsargus.com/news/archives/2007/10/05/whats_the_fuss_about_charles_b_aycock/

And Moore just lost my vote.

You deny 1898 was a problem?

Are you seriously going to argue that the legacy of 1898 went far beyond the election of an arguably Progressive governor?

Are you taking the position that the ends justified the means, or that the institution of the brutality of Jim Crow was a small price to pay for a few good universities?

Come now.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I have been involved in Democratic party politics

For over twenty years, in the time I have participated in many debates about Gov Aycock and his legacy, but it has always been against Repbulicans and those who have never been all that thrilled with public education to begin with. I would not be suprised if ones digs through all this crap if some Republican is not the one who started all this, it looks like something they would do. I have been aware of 1898 election since I was in high school and studied more in college. In the end it was best said as a crude method during a crude time in our history. I was warned early not to judge yesterdays time to todays standards. Gov Aycock is the education Governor and that is as it should be his legacy. And as I said far greater historians than I have called this way.

It wasn't the "election" in 1898 that was a problem ...

It's this, the undoing of a peaceful, democratic election; the murder of 25 of our sisters and brothers.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Exactly, Sam.

Doesn't it seem odd that the NCDP apologized for this in January 2007, without mentioning the role Aycock played?

I would like to read the text of Jerry's remarks. I hope he posts them on NCDP.org, or even better, here.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Jerry Meek Speaks

I took the trouble to register so that I could point you to the video I shot of Jerry Meek Saturday.

A friend of mine interviewed Jerry and will have a video up before long (a week is my guess), and will place the entire event, and about ten interviews, on his public access show, "Sound Off Buncombe", on URTV in Buncombe County on channel 20. Perhaps one of your people in Buncombe could record the program and share it.

Although we are conservative (and disagree with many things said that night), and I think we tried to be fair in recording the events as they happened.

edited to fix link - LC

Thank you very much for the heads up.

Buncombe folks - anyone up for recording this?

(thunderpig - love the name)


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Hard to hear

Like any video shot in a situation like that, it's hard to hear, but after I got used to the clinking of dinnerware, I could hear Jerry's speech fairly well. Probably as well as I would have been able to hear it if I were there.

Still don't know what I think. I don't think "a small group of Republicans" should be the ones having the discussion. It certainly is a discussion that the NCDP SEC needs to have.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I don't think Republicans are behind it.

I was warned early not to judge yesterdays time to todays standards.

While this is a good caveat, I am a from-the-womb Democrat, and believe that sometimes, we have to look at the message we're sending. I certainly think yesterday's time is worthy of discussion based on today's standards. It's all right to say that Aycock accomplished wonderful things while he was in office. Public education is a very important legacy to leave. But it's important to remember that men like Aycock and Jackson were men - not Gods. They did good things; they did horrible things. After all - Nixon opened diplomatic doors with China, and Mussolini made the trains run on time.

We must decide - as a party, and as individuals - whether or not we want men who did horrible things to be officially honored. My opinion is this: It's time to move on. Don't call it Vance-Aycock. Call it the Education Celebration. (I know, that sounds like a Schoolhouse Rock title. I'm sure there's something better.) Aycock is not the only Democrat to have done wonderful things for public education in this state. (Since I've lived here, there have been 2 Democratic Governors who have done marvelous things for Early Education.) The legacy we want to honor is that. A public statement - by the State Executive Committee, which meets again in January - should be made denouncing the racist past. We are not racists, and do not approve of racist actions. I am not a member of the SEC at this time, but I am a member of the local NAACP,and the county chairwoman is an SEC member. I will be discussing this issue with her and other Democrats in my county in hopes that this issue - and that of Andrew Jackson's treatment of Native Americans - can and will be addressed in January.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Silly name debates over Republican guilt trip BS!

Are you taking the position that the ends justified the means, or that the institution of the brutality of Jim Crow was a small price to pay for a few good universities?

Come now. * Doctor Franks Dies

Right! Why don't you do what they use to do in the former Soviet empire. Tear down the Statues of Stalin and remove his name from the Soviet history books and the communist Party records. In fact you should hot foot it over to the UNC Greensboro basketball team and tell them to hang it up, since they were a product of a wicked slave hugging racist Gov. I guess when the team goes to the big dance every year, it's just another product of the end justifing the means in Diversity and should change it's name back to the "Greensboro Normal training institution for the poor."

Here's the problem with this analogy, Max

Tear down the Statues of Stalin and remove his name from the Soviet history books and the communist Party records.

The Soviet history books only taught the "good" things that Stalin did, without mentioning the (possibly) sixty million Russians that died from his hands. And now ultra-nationalists are trying to dredge him up as a hero again, while still ignoring his atrocities.

The answer is: to provide a complete history, as opposed to either a partial history or no history. Only then will all possible lessons be learned.

Republicans love to rewrite history like the communists?

The answer is: to provide a complete history, as opposed to either a partial history or no history. Only then will all possible lessons be learned.*S

I agree! However! The winners use to write history until the internet came along......

with friends like these....

So both Sen Kerr and Wayne County Historian Charles Ellis think we shouldnt bring up the past?

Do they also think we should tear down the holocaust musuem? What is their opinion on a memorial for those who died during the trail of tears? Should we destroy the monuments to everything in the past or just some bad things we dont want to take responsibility for?

There were some reasoned explinations for disagreeing with Moore in that article. But they are of this nature:

And, while that doesn't make his views and attitudes right, junior Rajohn Romond agreed that they don't overshadow his long-lasting education contributions.

"I think, being a minority, it has affected me more, but the fact he built so many schools, helping both races, the good outweighs the bad," he said.

This issue is about the worst thing to use in determining who to vote for or against.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

I never said Jerry was unsure of either

The controversy was over the Aycock in the name, which was hard to miss since it was in many NC newspapers in the past two weeks and covered by myself on this blog - but it wasn't initiated by Jerry. Jerry repudiated Aycock's role in white supremacy, but brought the discussion back to Democrats doing the right things for today while all the Republicans can do is call us hypocrites.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

I think you missed the rest of that paragraph

Of course he talked about the controversy, but his point was what Democrats are doing today vs. what Republicans are doing. I never said he made a value judgment either way on whether the name was good or bad.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Does the Democratic Party

of today espouse these ideals? (excerpted from the 1898 Democratic Party handbook):

When the Democratic Party came into power it found that in many of the counties and towns of the East heavy taxes had been levied and collected, and the money had been stolen or squandered. The Republican Party then, as now, was weighed down by the negro, and to appease him, counties and towns, then as now, were turned over to him to pillage and plunder. In many counties and towns in the East the county scrip was hawked about, and was really worth but little more than the worthless Republican State bonds. The credit of the counties and towns, like the credit of the State, was destroyed. Negro magistrates and negro officials then, as now, went through the farce of administering the law. We have no purpose to go into the details of some of the harrowing scenes of those bitter days, and we only refer to the condition of the counties and towns of the East under Republican rule for the purpose of comparing it with Democratic rule and to appeal to the good white men all over the State to restore Democratic government to those counties and towns before their inhabitants shall again be subjected to similar conditions.

The Democratic Party addressed itself to the work of bringing order out of chaos in those communities. Ignorant, vicious, worthless officials were replaced by competent white men; the levying and collecting of the taxes were closely scrutinized; rigid economy was practiced; honesty prevailed in every department; expenses were decreased, and all laws were faithfully and impartially administered. They found many counties and towns heavily involved in debt and without

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any credit, notwithstanding the rate of taxation was very high. The Democratic Boards of Commissioners commenced paying off this indebtedness and at the same time reducing taxation, and long before the change of parties, in 1895, the indebtedness had been paid off and taxation reduced to the lowest possible limit. As great and marked as was the change in public affairs in the State administration, it was not so marked and visible as was the change in the counties and towns of the East. In place of the dangers to life and the oppression to property which prevailed under Republican rule, people and property of all classes were absolutely secure under Democratic rule. The reasons for this were very plain and simple. Under Republican rule many of these counties and towns were under the dominion of ignorant negroes and vicious white men, who were dependent upon the negroes for the places they held. Under-Democratic rule these same counties and towns were under the control of honest, capable white men. The lawless element among the negroes and the whites also knew that honest, faithful, capable men were in charge of the local offices and there was a marked difference in their behavior. With this honest, faithful execution of the law came a feeling of security to life and to property, which did not and cannot exist under Republican rule. The blacks, as well as the whites, were vastly better off, and it is a crime against the negro as well as an outrage upon the white men to again turn those counties and towns over to Republican rule, for Republican rule in the East means negro rule; and negro rule is a curse to both races.

Of course they don't. The behavior of these men should not be used to call into question the behavior and motives of today's Democratic leaders. But it's also nothing to be proud of, not by a long shot.

Of course we shouldn't be proud of it.

We need to view it through today's lens. It's atrocious, to me, to think that we should be told that we shouldn't even discuss it. That's undemocratic. Recognize that we are different than the folks who made up the Dem. Party 100 years ago - and thank God for it.

Never forget what history has taught us, and always remember that all heroes have feet of clay. If the Vance-Aycock Dinner is looked at as 'statue' to Aycock, then we damn well better have a disclaimer somewhere that says this guy would never have made it in today's Democratic Party.

Or would he?


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Not as a Democrat, but...

As far as Aycock being the builder of schools, I won't deny that. I will, however, question his motives behind such. One of the main strictures of the Suffrage Amendment was to require a certain amount of education to qualify as a voter. Since Aycock made his opinion of the negro abundantly clear:

http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/connor/connor.html

"This amendment was drawn with great skill. It was drawn after long thought, and with full knowledge of the end to be attained. It was drawn with the deliberate purpose of depriving the negro of the right to vote, and of allowing every white man to retain that right. And I tell you now and here, did I believe that it would cause the oppression of a single man, or deprive one white man, however ignorant or humble, of his suffrage, I would not support it. On the contrary its passage will mean peace to the land, it will mean an end to an era of crime and lawlessness, security to property and purity of politics. There will be no more dead negroes on the streets of Wilmington, no more rule of the incompetent and corrupt."

I believe the fervor with which he promoted education was driven by his desire that whites maintain their supremacy by staying one step ahead of their negro counterparts in the area of education. Maybe he envisioned tougher educational requirements could be added as whites got smarter? I don't know, but if you pay attention to his words:

Speak the truth, 'tell it in Gath, publish it in the streets of Askalon' that universal education of the white children of North Carolina will send us forward with a bound in the race with the world

While it is true that Aycock later fought against proposed legislation that would severely limit the amount of money spent on educating black children, how does that stack up to the loss of black representation in government for the decades that followed the turn of the Century?