I just finished reading John L. Johnson’s letter published in The Fayetteville Observer Thursday, Jan. 23. It was the incentive I needed to write these comments. His characterization of “myopic attitudes and lack of visionary leadership” exactly matches my perception of the elected city officials — primarily the mayor — who are in a position to have the greatest influence on the possibility of the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center coming to fruition.
In the Dec. 29, 2019, edition of The Fayetteville Observer is an article by staff writer John Henderson titled “Debate rages on about proposed Civil War History Center.” There is no raging debate, only the slow strangulation of support for this important project by the mayor and those he calls “concerned citizens,” primarily citizens that he needs to maintain his power base and time in office. On page A6 of that edition is a picture of the mayor, another local politician and a phalanx of Colvin’s “concerned citizens.” As the mayor continues his flip-flop about the NCCWRHC, he manages to keep this particular constituency opposed to what is already a functioning Civil War and Reconstruction History Center.
If he took the time to learn about the great work that the History Center’s Cheri Todd Molter and her small staff are doing, he might come to understand that most of his incitement about the Center is false and harmful to eventually getting this significant project committed and under construction. Anyone who goes to the website http://nccivilwarcenter.org and reads all the articles and watches the videos will understand what this facility will be — a teaching and learning center for all our people and (that will show) how this period shaped and still affects us all.
The mayor is resorting to the same tactics he used in his campaign to remove the Market House from recognition as the symbol of our city — keeping a number of our citizens hoodwinked into believing his version of the facts. It worked. And it will work again and lead to the demise of the NCCWR History Center by keeping it from becoming a full reality.
Mr. Johnson, the lack of “visionary leadership” you see will continue to do harm to the growth and betterment of our community unless citizens, like yourself, continue to speak up and support what is so desperately needed for the growth of jobs, development and investment in our city.
To the mayor I say: Take the time to fully understand and respond to Mr. Johnson like you did to Mr. Patrick Tuohey’s piece in Friday’s newspaper about the development along Hay Street. Your legacy is becoming one of keeping racial issues as part of what should be what is good for all of Fayetteville’s citizens. You should be focused on Fayetteville’s future — not on your future and re-election.