Recently, someone posted a Confederate monument sign at the traffic circle at the end of East Fire Tower Road (where it intersects with Portertown Road). The purpose of the sign was to encourage the Pitt County Commissioners — who violated North Carolina statute Chapter 100, “Monuments, Memorials and Parks” — to return the Confederate monument they removed from the grounds of the Pitt County Courthouse in June 2020.

However, the sign is not the focus of this letter. The focus of this letter is a celebration of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The last time I was traveling in that area, the initial Confederate monument sign had been joined by a protest sign. The two signs were stating opposing viewpoints but they were both still in place. Both opinions were displayed. Neither party bothered the other’s sign.

These signs were an encouragement to the principle of free speech, outlined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Although the First Amendment speaks to the actions of our Congress, one provision prohibits “abridging the freedom of speech.” (See above)

Our sign example puts the spirit of that First Amendment provision on full display. How much better off would America be if a return to civil discourse was allowed by the public? No yelling, no cursing, no violence; just reasonable people sharing their viewpoints with respectful civility at the core. Unfortunately, in today’s world, the total lack of civility ensures no one wins.

Jerry McRoy


Overly critical of race theory

According to Wikipedia, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a body of legal scholarship and an academic movement of U.S. civil rights scholars and activists who seek to critically examine the intersection of race and U.S. law and to challenge mainstream American liberal approaches to racial justice. Moreover, CRT maintains that laws and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist. Unfortunately, too many Donald Trump sympathizers have organized to disrupt school board meetings and threaten board members and superintendents. Such intimidations have caused some CRT supporters to resign in fear.

The CRT debate recently left a pernicious impression on deliberations at a Pitt County Board of Education meeting. Board member James Tripp was correct when he stated: “I think we’re going ahead of ourselves if we look at a resolution for something we haven’t even had an issue with. I think our teachers are more professional than what I’m hearing we give them credit for.” The remarks were in response to board members Worth Forbes and Benjie Forrest supporting a resolution to stop CRT-school references in their tracks. Why would Forbes and Forrest take such an approach?

At the aforesaid meeting, Forbes reportedly asserted, “I don’t think our children need to hear any of this. I know I don’t want my grandkids taught that and I’m sure there are many parents that don’t want their kids to come home with a project that tries to belittle their race or promote another race. …” This is the same Worth Forbes who pursued a master’s degree in Theological Studies at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. in 1971. Falwell, in the 1950s and 1960s, campaigned against Martin Luther King Jr. and the racial desegregation of public-school systems.

I believe educational experiences often influence the thinking of those exposed to various academic environments.

Keith W. Cooper


Contact Bobby Burns at and 329.9572.