UNITED STATES NEWS

New Hampshire is sued over removal of marker dedicated to Communist Party leader

Aug 7, 2023, 9:28 AM | Updated: 9:44 am

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Supporters of a former historical marker dedicated to a feminist and labor activist from New Hampshire who also led the U.S. Communist Party sued the state Monday, saying officials violated a law around administrative procedures and should put it back up.

The green and white sign describing the life of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was installed May 1 in Concord close to where she was born Aug. 7, 1890. It was one of more than 275 across the state that describe people and places, from Revolutionary War soldiers to contemporary sports figures. But it was taken down two weeks after it went up.

Known as “The Rebel Girl” for her fiery speeches, Flynn was a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union and advocated for women’s voting rights and access to birth control. The marker said she joined the Communist Party in 1936 and was sent to prison in 1951. She was one of many party members prosecuted “under the notorious Smith Act,” the marker said, which forbade attempts to advocate, abet or teach the violent destruction of the U.S. government.

Flynn later chaired the Communist Party of the United States. She died at 74 in Moscow during a visit in 1964.

The marker had drawn criticism from two Republican members of the Executive Council, a five-member body that approves state contracts, judicial nominees and other positions, who argued it was inappropriate, given Flynn’s Communist involvement. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu agreed and called for a review of the historical marker process. It was removed in consultation with Sununu, according to Sarah Crawford Stewart, commissioner of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

But “the marker was illegally removed based on ideological considerations that fly in the face of the historical marker program’s purpose,” said plaintiff Mary Lee Sargent, an American history teacher who, along with activist Arnold Alpert, filed the lawsuit against the state in superior court.

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

The complaint specifically names Secretary of State David Scanlan as representative of New Hampshire, along with Stewart and Transportation Commissioner William Cass. Messages seeking comment on the lawsuit were sent to all three, as well as to the New Hampshire attorney general’s office, which represents the state and its departments in litigation.

“We will review the complaint and respond as appropriate in court in due course,” said Michael Garrity, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office.

Under the current process, any person, municipality or agency can suggest a marker as long as they get 20 signatures from New Hampshire residents. Supporters must draft the marker’s text and provide footnotes and copies of supporting documentation, according to the state Division of Historical Resources. The division and a historical resources advisory group evaluate the criteria.

The lawsuit said that policies and guidelines used by the department to run the program are invalid because their adoption wasn’t consistent with requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act. The lawsuit said Stewart didn’t even follow the guidelines, which require the department to consult with the advisory historical resources council before markers are “retired.”

United States News

Associated Press

3 Columbia University administrators put on leave over alleged text exchange at antisemitism panel

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University said it has placed three administrators on leave while it investigates allegations that they exchanged unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. The university said the administrators work for its undergraduate Columbia College, which hosted the panel discussion “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

All involved in shooting that critically wounded Philadelphia officer are in custody, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia police say they believe they have in custody everyone involved in a shooting that critically wounded a police officer after a traffic stop. The 31-year-old officer and his partner stopped a car carrying four people shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday in the Kensington neighborhood of northeast Philadelphia, the city’s police commissioner, […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

California boy, 4, who disappeared from campground found safe after 22 hours alone in wilderness

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old California boy who wandered away from a campground in the Sierra National Forest was found safe after spending 22 hours alone in the wilderness, authorities said. A search-and-rescue team of about 50 officers and volunteers set out around 11 a.m. Thursday after the child was reported missing from the […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

One man died and five others were hospitalized in downtown St. Louis shooting

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One man is dead and five others have been wounded in a downtown St. Louis shooting, police said. Police believe women were fighting in a park when men interfered and drew firearms, according to social media posts from the agency. The man who died was in his mid-twenties, police said. Five […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan sheriff’s deputy fatally shot pursuing a stolen vehicle in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan county sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot while pursing a suspected stolen vehicle in Detroit, the Oakland County sheriff’s office said Sunday. Bradley J. Reckling, who was on duty in an unmarked car, was following a 2022 Chevy Equinox Saturday evening after the vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities search in rural Colorado for suspect in shooting that left 1 dead, 2 injured

ALAMOSA, Colorado (AP) — Officers went door to door in a rural southern Colorado on Sunday as aircraft searched from overhead for a man suspected of shooting three people, killing one, and then fleeing on foot into farmland after a failed carjacking. Suspect Henry Corral, 44, should be considered armed and dangerous, said police in […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

New Hampshire is sued over removal of marker dedicated to Communist Party leader