From: Sen. Doug Berger
Sent: Tue 3/22/2011 12:17 AM
To: Rick Gunn; Sen. Neal Hunt; Sen. Dan Blue; Sen. Tom Apodaca
Subject: RE: SJR 256 Pardon Governor Holden
Senator Gunn: On May 21, 1870, Republican Senator John Stephens who represented Caswell County was assassinated at the courthouse in Yanceyville. Five days earlier Senator Stephens had written Governor Holden reporting that a black Republican named Sam Allen had been driven from his home for having a school for blacks on his property. Senator Stephens specifically requested military assistance from Governor Holden because of the fear being induced by the KKK. It is important to note that on the first two articles of impeachment charging Governor Holden with unlawfully proclaiming Alamance and Caswell counties in a state of insurrection, he was found not guilty. I would also point out to you that Republican president Grant provided federal units to back up the soldiers Governor Holden sent into Alamance and Caswell Counties.
Finally, I would also point out that the 17 black representatives in the General Assembly opposed the impeachment of Governor Holden as did most of the elected Republicans in the Senate who found him not guilty on all charges. Governor Holden the founder of the Republican Party in this state was honored at the 1872 state Republican convention when delegates adopted a resolution expressing "deepest gratitude for his manful and bold defense of them from the assaults of Ku Klux Democracy; for his uniform and consistent defense of the poor and humble when he was Governor; and his faithful and ceaseless maintenance of Republican principles. In 1873, Republican President Grant appointed Governor Holden to a Raleigh postmastership position.
Given the bipartisan support for this bill, I think it is ill advised to send this bill back to a committee. It is historically significant that we take this action tomorrow on the same day he was unjustly removed from office 140 years ago.
Senator Doug Berger