The “Rebel Girl” is still causing headaches for the Sununu administration a week after the governor said he wanted the state Historical Highway Marker honoring Communist Elizabeth Hurley Flynn removed.
Despite the governor’s complaints, his own New Hampshire Department of Cultural and Natural Resources continues to tout the marker for Flynn, the former head of the American Communist Party, on its website.
“The N.H. Division of Historical Resources is pleased to announce that a New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker honoring Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, a well-known labor, women’s rights, and civil liberties activist, has been installed at the corner of Court and Montgomery Streets in downtown Concord, near the site of her birthplace,” reads the press release, which was still online as of Wednesday.
The message on a state-run website adds more weight to the case made by the City of Concord that the marker is a state, not municipal, matter.
Sununu has blamed the marker’s placement on Concord city officials, claiming he wants the marker removed but must wait for the city to act.
“Why Concord would want to put this in the first place, God knows,” Sununu said last week. “Just tell us to take it down, we’ll take it down. I’d love to take it down.”
After Executive Councilors saw red when they learned about the marker for Flynn — who Sununu and other state officials have called anti-American — Sarah Stewart, commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, took less than decisive action. Stewart sent a letter to Concord Mayor James Bouley asking him to ask the state to have the marker removed.
The problem for Stewart, Sununu, and all other anti-Communists in the Granite State is that the city has no control over the marker.
“We did not approve any marker, we don’t have that authority; we don’t approve the marker’s text, we don’t have that authority,” Bouley said this week.
The marker is part of a state program, paid for with state funds, and placed on state property. Or, as the state’s press release says, “The New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker program is jointly managed by the N.H. Division of Historical Resources and N.H. Department of Transportation.”
There is a legal way to remove a Historical Highway Marker, which is covered under state law.
Flynn was born in Concord and moved to New York with her family as a child. She became a leading labor and civil rights activist before joining the Communist Party. In fact, Flynn was kicked out of the ACLU, which she helped found, because of her membership in the Community Party during the Stalin regime.
Flynn became a Communist in 1936, three years after the USSR murdered close to 9 million people in a genocidal famine known as the Holodomor and was about to start killing millions more. When she died in 1964, Flynn received a state funeral in Soviet Russia in Moscow’s Red Square with 25,000 people attending.