Confederate monument deadline passes without agreement

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 10/2/19

The war of words continues while the “Our Confederate Heroes” monument remains standing, but likely not for long.

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Confederate monument deadline passes without agreement

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Posted

The war of words continues while the “Our Confederate Heroes” monument remains standing, but likely not for long.

Both Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Dasher and Winie Davis Chapter of the UDC President Barbara Pugh stood firm on their respective positions over the weekend, a weekend marred by counter-protests, Confederate flags posted outside a school named for a former slave and multiple arrests.

Dasher said on Saturday that, “barring any legal challenge, there is zero chance that the Board of Commissioners revisits this issue. Zero.”

That was unwelcome news for Pugh, who told the News + Record Monday via email that “the Commissioners, ‘Chatham for All’ and the Democratic Socialists of America” are “continu(ing) the (Civil) War today through its purging efforts.”

Tuesday was the deadline for the UDC to submit a plan to the county for relocation of the Confederate monument sitting outside the Chatham County Historic Courthouse in downtown Pittsboro. It passed without an agreement, without a plan submitted.

In response to the many rallies and protests by both sides of the argument, Dasher said he wanted “to clear up any confusion over the monument, the recent protests, and how this all plays out.”

“I’ve seen and heard that if the Commissioners leave the monument alone, then these out-of-county groups will stop coming here raising confederate flags and let us get back to normal,” he said. “Folks, the deal’s gone down and what’s done is done. There is not a discussion or negotiation left to be had, unless you’re the UDC and you want to talk through the particulars of how/when/ where you’re moving it to. Perhaps instead of planning rallies and finding land for flags, these people could’ve been working through logistics and finding and preparing land for the monument.”

The board had voted 4-1 on August 19 to terminate the county’s order with the UDC to locate the monument on county property. Board members voting in favor cited the UDC’s ownership of the statue, something the UDC disputed and continues to dispute.

Pugh said that the UDC has “asked for more time” and “offered to work” with the commissioners to “re-image the area around the monument,” but both times the county said no.

“They want it all their way, and fast is not quick enough,” Pugh said. “The Monument has been in place for 112 years, but the Commissioners have said ‘No’ to our request for a 60-day extension. They are demanding that we take the monument, and get out of town by November 1st.”

The commissioners have not publicly asked for the UDC to leave Chatham County. The UDC backed out of mutually-agreed upon negotiations to “reimagine” the monument itself. Dasher said the county would be likely to grant the extension request if there was belief the UDC would truly submit a plan, but he added that was unlikely.

Pugh added, “If ‘Chatham is for All,’ then it should include our Confederate ancestors as well.”

The monument will be declared a public trespass on November 1 if no plan is submitted. At that time, the county will be in control of what happens to it.

Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at zhorner@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.

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