Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Moore today called for changing the name of the state Democratic Party's annual Vance-Aycock fundraising dinner because of former Gov. Charles Brantley Aycock's involvement in white supremacy campaigns in 1898 and 1900.
"When you read Gov. Aycock’s speeches and understand the full, unvarnished history, the only conclusion is that he fought against the principles that the Democratic Party stands for,” said Moore, the state treasurer.
Moore's comments come a week before the annual Vance-Aycock Dinner, which is held at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, reports Rob Christensen.
Aycock, a Goldsboro attorney who was elected in 1900, is one of North Carolina’s best known governors because of his advocacy for education. But he was also the voice of the white supremacy campaigns of 1898 and 1900 that led to the disfranchisement of black voters.
“I can no longer defend naming a Democratic Party dinner after Gov. Aycock,” Moore said. “The tactics Aycock embraced — fear, hatred, and voter intimidation at the hands of a band of ‘red shirts” — must be acknowledged and repudiated. We have so many heroes, like Harvey Gantt, Liston Ramsey and Marie Colton, and they would serve as more appropriate honorees.”
Gantt is a former Charlotte mayor who was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1990 and 1996, Ramsey is a former state House Speaker, and Colton was the first woman to serve as state House speaker pro tem.
Update: State Democratic Party chairman Jerry Meek could not be reached for comment. But party spokeswoman, Kerra Bolton, said the issue would be brought up at the next state Democratic Executive meeting in January.
"We respect the views of all North Carolina Democrats on this issue,” Bolton said in a statement. “This is a statewide dinner and is therefore worthy of a statewide discussion from all Democrats.”