The newspaper story published Sunday, June 27, 2021 beneath the headline, “ONE YEAR LATER,” stuck a chord with me having to do with the subject, “Black Lives Matter.” I am an 88-year-old native of Statesville. I moved to Morganton in 1977. I agree with Mrs. Caroline Avery of Morganton who was quoted in this past Sunday’s newspaper referenced above.
Mrs. Avery said, “We are in this for the long haul, but we are not getting anywhere. We’re not wearing down. We are not going anywhere.” That too, struck a chord with me.
Over a year ago, Morganton Mayor, Ronnie Thompson met in our home with my wife and I to discuss a recent meeting held in the Kistler wing of the public library. That meeting was a history event sponsored by the North Carolina Room at the library and dealt with the historic African-American neighborhood in Morganton known as “Jonesboro.”
As my wife and I discussed Jonesboro with Mayor Thompson, he became very interested in our wanting the City of Morganton to erect a permanent Jonesboro monument in a prominent location, possibly across College Street in front of the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium.
This monument might hold a cast bronze plate with the named streets encompassing Jonesboro and the importance and significance of the Jonesboro Historic District inscribed in bold relief text. As the mayor left our residence, he thanked my wife and me for having brought this to his attention and stated he would discuss the matter with city staff and we would hear back from him soon. To quote Ms. Avery, “…WE ARE NOT GETTING ANYWHERE!”
We have not heard from Morganton Mayor Thompson, despite the long sleeve blue shirt he wore with his political Morganton position as MAYOR, embroidered in capital letters over the shirt’s pocket.
I have addressed copies of this letter to the mayor, the city manager and to members of city council, requesting them to take the necessary action to permanently recognize the African-American neighborhood, known as “Jonesboro,” with its distinction as authorized by the National Park Service and known as the “Jonesboro Historic District” then placed in The National Registry of Historic Places, done in Washington, D.C., 1987.