Barriers erected around Confederate monument at historic courthouse in Pittsboro

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 3/18/19

PITTSBORO — Citing the potential for "increased foot traffic" in Pittsboro Monday evening, deputies from the Chatham County Sheriff's Office erected partitions on Monday around the "Our …

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Barriers erected around Confederate monument at historic courthouse in Pittsboro

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Posted

UPDATE 5:48 p.m.

A group of individuals have stood in front of the courthouse, on one side of the partitioned area, for nearly two hours.

Commissioners Vice Chair Diana Hales told the News + Record that the commissioners will meet in April at the Chatham County Agriculture Center to hear "presentations" on the monument and what might be done with it. 

UPDATE 4:15 p.m.

Three sheriff's deputies, donning neon vests, asked a group of individuals to leave the area in front of the historic courthouse. The deputies then closed off all access to the brick walkway in front of the building.

Original Story

PITTSBORO — Citing the potential for "increased foot traffic" in Pittsboro Monday evening, deputies from the Chatham County Sheriff's Office erected partitions on Monday around the "Our Confederate Heroes" statue in front of the Historic Courthouse in downtown Pittsboro.

Multiple deputies unloaded metal partitions from a sheriff's office truck around noon on Monday. A deputy on the scene referred the News + Record to the departemnt's public information officer, Lt. Sara Pack. In a statment, Pack said:

"These partitions are intended to help facilitate pedestrian foot traffic in and around the traffic circle prior to and during the two public meetings scheduled tonight.

Deputies and Pittsboro Police will be in the area to help minimize interruptions to traffic as well as mitigate safety risks to pedestrians and motorists. The Board of Commissioners will be holding their usual session at the Historic Courthouse at 6 p.m. and the Town of Pittsboro is holding a special session at Pittsboro Town Hall at 6 p.m. The (latter) meeting is projected to draw a larger crowd than normal due to public interests being addressed."

A section of the partition was set up around the statue, while the rest of the barriers lined a brick-laid area in front of the courthouse. 

No official, either in local government or law enforcement, has acknowledged certainty over a protest either at the statue or during the commissioners' meeting. 

According to "Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina," a project of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,  the monument was dedicated on Aug. 23, 1907 at a cost of $1,700. The webpage, under the heading of "Controversies," has the following description:

"Some people in Chatham want the monument removed from the courthouse, or destroyed. They contend it promotes racism and commemorates the slave-holding South. Others defend it as a reminder of historical events and of local heritage."

The News + Record currently has no reporting or record of a group seeking to remove the statue or destroy it. We will keep this story updated if something more happens.

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