Moral Mondays Protests: The Cause Is Having Effect

It seems that NC state Sen. Thom Goolsby isn't the only one lashing out against the NAACP-led Moral Mondays protests in Raleigh against the legislature's far-right tilt. The Institute for Southern Studies reports:

The John W. Pope Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank based in Raleigh, N.C., has launched a database targeting people who've been arrested as part of the Moral Monday nonviolent protests at the state legislature.

When you hear them squeal, you know you've hit a soft spot. Civitas is inviting retaliation against protestors, practically inviting extra scrutiny of their voting histories from the Voter Integrity Project in NC. The database includes "each protester's name, city and county of residence, sex, race, age, arrest date, occupation, employer (and whether it's in the public, private or nonprofit sector), interest group affiliations, and mugshot." Writing for Facing South, Sue Sturgis draws a parallel with events of half a century ago.

Republican leaders' response to the Moral Monday protests has at times evoked a painful chapter of Southern history. Speaking earlier this month to the state Republican Party convention in Charlotte, Gov. McCrory said the protests were the work of "outsiders" -- even though Civitas' own database shows that those arrested are overwhelmingly North Carolina residents. McCrory's remark calls to mind how former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, an ardent segregationist, blamed civil rights demonstrations in his state on the work of "outside agitators."

Civitas' database brings to mind another troubling episode of mid-20th century U.S. history: how in some Southern cities at that time the white-supremacist White Citizens' Councils (WCC) would publish in local newspapers the names of NAACP supporters and those who signed anti-segregation petitions in order to encourage retaliation against them. The WCCs, like Civitas, also had close ties to powerful government officials.

The NC state legislature is still in session and Moral Mondays continue. Eighty-four protestors were arrested on Monday.

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