We recognize that the whole idea of honoring persons and creating statues is under pressure. The current effort to reduce racism in America includes removing names, statues or other honors of people who exhibited racism in the past.
That's the reason for a North Carolina legislative committee to approve a new person to be honored in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall to replace a former governor considered a white supremacist.
A bit of background: The National Statuary Hall in the Capitol building includes two statues from each state. Most are in the south wing, but others are placed throughout the building. The Hall was created in 1864, long before there were 50 states. Each state decides whose statues will be displayed.
South Dakota's selections, by the way, are Gen. W.H.H. Beadle and John Ward. Beadle was a soldier, lawyer and educator generally considered the man who saved South Dakota land for the permanent purpose of supporting public schools. An exact replica of the statue in the U.S. Capitol is on the Dakota State University campus in Madison. Ward is considered a leader in the quest for South Dakota statehood.
Under pressure from the U.S. House of Representatives, North Carolina intends to replace former Gov. Charles Aycock with a statue of evangelist Billy Graham, a Charlotte native who has been described as the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history. He died in 2018 at the age of 99.
We believe Graham is an excellent choice to represent the state of North Carolina. We've long admired him and have visited the Billy Graham museum in Charlotte.
Graham was an extraordinary man who changed the lives of millions around the world. He is someone whom North Carolinians can be proud of. He was human, of course, so he had faults. But his virtues far outweigh any negatives, and he is a great choice to be recognized in Statuary Hall.
-- Jon M. Hunter