PITTSBORO, N.C. (Colleen Quigley/WNCN) - Chatham County Commissioners voted to end a 1907 agreement allowing a Confederate monument to remain outside the historic courthouse in Pittsboro.
In a 4-1 vote, board members said the Winnie Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has until Oct. 1 to come up with a plan to relocate the statue.
If a plan is not presented to board members by the deadline, then the statue will be declared public trespass on Nov. 1.
“It’s not exclusively homage to soldiers who died, but a constant reminder of the brutality and second class status and political power that the white population had and can exercise over its citizen neighbors with dark skin,” said commissioner Diana Hales.
In June commissioners and the UDC signed an agreement to work with the board on a “reimagining” of the monument that’s dedicated to “Our Confederate Heroes.” However, County Commissioner Mike Dasher said Monday night that despite signing the agreement, the UDC walked away from discussions about modifying the statue.
Barbara Pugh, president of the Winnie Davis UDC, said she had no comment about commissioners vote, or why the UDC ended talks with them.
“Chatham had a unique opportunity to address this monument in a more productive way than perhaps other counties have had. Certainly, this board has done all that we could ourselves in having that conversation with the United Daughters of the Confederacy. I’m disappointed that they came to the conclusion it was not worth the conversation,” said Commissioner Karen Howard.
Howard said at no point did commissioners suggest the monument be destroyed, but rather move it to a cemetery, or somewhere else.
Monday’s vote comes after months of debate and discussion beginning earlier this year when a group “Chatham for All” called for the statue to be returned to the UDC, saying it represents hate speech.
Supporters of the statue call it a tribute soldiers who fought during the civil war and represents history in Chatham County.
“To me, the statue is to placed to show respect and honor for the soldiers and veterans that were called and served. In my opinion, our statue should be left in full view for future generations to observe,” said Dorothy Chastain.