New Hampshire is sued over removing of marker devoted to Communist Social gathering chief

Native Information

Generally known as “The Insurgent Woman” for her fiery speeches, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a founding father of the American Civil Liberties Union and advocated for ladies’s voting rights and entry to contraception.

A dark green historical marker with white lettering dedicated to Elizabeth Gurley Flynn in Concord, New Hampshire.
A historic marker devoted to Elizabeth Gurley Flynn stands in Harmony, New Hampshire, Could 5, 2023. Kathy McCormack through AP, File

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Supporters of a former historic marker devoted to a feminist and labor activist from New Hampshire who additionally led the U.S. Communist Social gathering sued the state Monday, saying officers violated a regulation round administrative procedures and may put it again up.

The inexperienced and white signal describing the lifetime of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was put in Could 1 in Harmony near the place she was born Aug. 7, 1890. It was one among greater than 275 throughout the state that describe folks and locations, from Revolutionary Warfare troopers to modern sports activities figures. However it was taken down two weeks after it went up.

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Generally known as “The Insurgent Woman” for her fiery speeches, Flynn was a founding father of the American Civil Liberties Union and advocated for ladies’s voting rights and entry to contraception. The marker mentioned she joined the Communist Social gathering in 1936 and was despatched to jail in 1951. She was one among many occasion members prosecuted “beneath the infamous Smith Act,” the marker mentioned, which forbade makes an attempt to advocate, abet or educate the violent destruction of the U.S. authorities.

Flynn later chaired the Communist Social gathering of the USA. She died at 74 in Moscow throughout a go to in 1964.

The marker had drawn criticism from two Republican members of the Govt Council, a five-member physique that approves state contracts, judicial nominees and different positions, who argued it was inappropriate, given Flynn’s Communist involvement. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu agreed and known as for a evaluation of the historic marker course of. It was eliminated in session with Sununu, in line with Sarah Crawford Stewart, commissioner of the Division of Pure and Cultural Sources.

However “the marker was illegally eliminated primarily based on ideological concerns that fly within the face of the historic marker program’s goal,” mentioned plaintiff Mary Lee Sargent, an American historical past trainer who, together with activist Arnold Alpert, filed the lawsuit towards the state in superior courtroom.

The lawsuit says that state officers violated the state’s Administrative Procedures Act, its historic markers program and the plaintiffs’ rights to due course of by interfering with Sargent’s and Alpert’s rights “to duly petition for the approval and erection of a historic marker” close to Gurley Flynn’s birthplace.

The criticism particularly names Secretary of State David Scanlan as consultant of New Hampshire, together with Stewart and Transportation Commissioner William Cass. Messages searching for touch upon the lawsuit had been despatched to all three, in addition to to the New Hampshire legal professional common’s workplace, which represents the state and its departments in litigation.

Underneath the present course of, any particular person, municipality or company can counsel a marker so long as they get 20 signatures from New Hampshire residents. Supporters should draft the marker’s textual content and supply footnotes and copies of supporting documentation, in line with the state Division of Historic Sources. The division and a historic assets advisory group consider the factors.

The lawsuit mentioned that insurance policies and pointers utilized by the division to run this system are invalid as a result of their adoption wasn’t according to necessities of the Administrative Procedures Act. The lawsuit mentioned Stewart didn’t even observe the rules, which require the division to seek the advice of with an advisory historic assets council earlier than markers are “retired.”