Cancel Culture Comes to Wake Forest, North Carolina

Photo by Martin Fried

I have written previously about the very real dangers of what is called “cancel culture.” Indeed, what we have—what we see and experience today in the United States—is a massive attempt, increasingly successful, to not just inhibit the rights of more conservative and right-leaning citizens from expressing their views, but to “doxx” them, get them fired from their jobs, publicly shame them, instill in them fear to effectively shut them up completely. This is happening not only on our college and university campuses, controlled almost in their entirety by totalitarian leftists who talk excessively about “our democracy” while doing their damnedest to suppress it, but also in society generally. (Again, I ask—I demand—to know why our conservative legislators continue to throw millions in taxpayer dollars at these bloated, overpaid excuses for Marxist indoctrination camps?)

The increasing instances of suppression are to say the least deeply deleterious to whatever future this American republic might have. When you have as many as one third, maybe one half, of the persons in these United States now whipped up fanatically into a vicious ideological frenzy, with a desire to ban and repress and punish their fellow Americans—when you have local and state governments seemingly paralyzed by, if not supportive of the anarchic chaos in dozens of American cities—when you have a news media in its near totality abetting this process and purposely shaping (and suppressing) the news to reflect an extreme revolutionary agenda—when most of the Internet and tech industry monopoly zealously undergird this process and censor opposing voices, then can the real fate of “our democracy” be secure? Are not the extremists, with their unbridled—and learned in school—hatred, actually engaged in a form of projection when they talk about equality, democracy, racism and bigotry: guilty of the very same things they accuse others of?

All this was recently brought home locally in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Wake Forest, once a small college town and still the seat of Southeastern Baptist Seminary, from its tradition as a desirable small town about fifteen miles north of Raleigh to its present condition as a “bedroom” community of nearly 45,000, is host to a large branch of the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), the 47th Regiment NC Troops, Camp 166. The local SCV has been very active there, civically and publicly-mindedly, for nearly thirty years participating in everything from the local Christmas parade to support for Adopt-a-Highway and Tri-Area Ministries programs.

Then came last week one more insane effect of cancel culture, like a bolt of lightning out of the blue, an example of the lunacy and the real ideological sickness that seems to possess so many of our fellow citizens. For twenty-eight years the 47th Regiment NC Troops Camp has been meeting at The Forks Cafeteria & Catering in downtown Wake Forest, in one of the Forks’ private conference/dining rooms, without any adverse incidents at all. Indeed, a state divisional SCV meeting was held there a few years ago (again, with no problems at all). But this past week David Greenwell, the owner of The Forks, notified the SCV that it could no longer meet there because the organization represented “hate and racism,” even though he could not cite even one example where such “hate and racism” were on display. Indeed, he admitted: “I have never had any problem with the group at all. They were always nice and friendly.”

This in microcosm is where we are in society today—this is what has happened and is happening to our culture. While too many of our folks, regular citizens who work and raise families, sit by and indifferently watch, our traditions, our heritage, our beliefs and values, the very symbols we honor are uprooted, spat upon, defiled…and we are told to shut up or else face the bitter effects of cancel culture.

But this cannot continue without end. Either we stand up and oppose this destructive and devastating frenzy, or we will simply disappear into the bowels of history, perhaps to be cursed by our grand-children to whom we leave the barren desert of the Gulag.

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I pass on a news article from a local online journal about the decision of The Forks Cafeteria; at the end of the story is contact information if you should wish to make your views known to the owner (please, if you do so, be polite).

15Aug

Sons of Confederate Veterans kicked out of the Forks Cafeteria

By wsj30 on Aug 15, 2020

By JAY LAMM | [email protected]

The local Sons of Confederate Veterans has been kicked out of Forks Cafeteria because of customer complaints about Confederate symbols visible during meetings.

The group has been meeting at the downtown Wake Forest iconic restaurant off Brooks Street for the last 28 years. The group was notified by phone Wednesday night by David Greenwell, owner of the Forks Cafeteria. 

Greenwell said Friday that he understands the position of the group, but he did what is best for his business in a progressive time in history.

Frank Powell, former commander of 47th Regiment NC Troops Camp 166, a chapter of the SCV, received the phone call from Greenwell.

“The call was out of the blue. Unexpected. We were shocked and upset,” Powell said. “We have been meeting there for 28 years. We started when the restaurant was in the old Seminary cafeteria on the Seminary campus. He said he had received complaints and he didn’t want us meeting in his restaurant. His tone sounded as if he was mad at me.” 

Powell said his group met in a private room and disturbed no one. A Confederate battle flag was on display in the room during the meeting. Powell said it couldn’t be seen from outside of the room. 

“We meet the first Thursday of every month. We have about 50 members, but we average about 25 at a meeting — young and old,” said Powell. “The owner doesn’t know what we do at our meetings. He’s hardly ever around when we are there.”

Greenwell said he didn’t make the decision hastily.

“I have never had any problem with the group at all. They were always nice and friendly,” said Greenwell. “People started to complain. There was a placard in an easel the nights of the meeting that displayed Confederate symbolism. It could be seen from the cash register station, and it upset some customers.”

Powell said Greenwell never asked him to remove the flags or signage. 

“Our meetings usually feature a historical program and the speaker will sometimes bring artifacts. This has never been a problem,” said Powell. 

“The Confederate Battle Flag represents hate and racism in this country, at this time. I just couldn’t have a group with that symbolism in my business anymore,” said Greenwell. 

“None of us will ever eat at The Forks again,” said Powell. “We have received much support in such a short time. So far about 100 people have said they will not eat there again”

Greenwell said he has learned a lot about some of his customers and people in the community since he made the decision to not allow the Sons of Confederate Veterans to meet in his business. He said he realizes he might lose customers. 

“I have received calls, messages from people who say they will no longer support my business.  You never know about some people, friends, you thought, but I do now,” he said.

Powell said his group is not a hate group but a group preserving heritage and making a difference in the community. 

“We have a section of US-1 for the Adopt-a-Highway program we keep clean. We participate in the Wake Forest Cemetery Walking Tour every year. We have supported the Wake Forest Purple Heart Banquet for the last five or six years with a financial donation and buying tickets to attend the event. We’re a member of the Wake Forest Community Council for the last few years, and I’m serving as treasurer this year. We support Tri-Area Ministries with donations every month,” Powell said.

The organization also marched in the Wake Forest Christmas Parade for 26 years before it was cancelled in 2019.  The parade was cancelled due to threats of protest and violence because of the same Confederate group’s intended participation.

“We are misunderstood. No one knows what history is anymore. We feel we are a victim of pure discrimination,” Powell said, adding that the group has sought legal advice. “Just about every community group in Wake Forest meets at The Forks, but now, not us. We just want to be treated like everyone else.” 

Now, the group is looking for a new meeting place, but nothing had been decided.

“We have a couple of places we are looking at,” said Powell. 

The next meeting is Sept. 3. 

Greenwell said he was prepared for the fallout of his decision. 

“I know I will lose business because of this decision,” he said, “but I needed to be progressive for the future of my business and its place in the community.”

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Here immediately below is contact information for The Forks Cafeteria & Catering, if you should wish to let them know how you think about this application of “cancel culture”:

Telephone number: 919-556-6544

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This essay was previously published in a slightly different version at Boyd Cathey’s blog site, MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey,

About Boyd Cathey

Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations. More from Boyd Cathey

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