PITTSBORO — The Winnie Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy formally asked the Chatham County Commissioners late last week for an extension to the October 1 deadline for a …
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PITTSBORO — The Winnie Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy formally asked the Chatham County Commissioners late last week for an extension to the October 1 deadline for a plan of removal for the "Our Confederate Heroes" monument in downtown Pittsboro.
Additionally, after walking away from discussions to "reimagine" the monument, the UDC stated it would "embrace 'reimagining' the area" around the Chatham County Historic Courthouse.
But early response from one of the commissioners indicates that plan might face a large hurdle.
According to a letter from chapter president Barbara Pugh sent to Chatham Commissioner Chair Mike Dasher, the chapter retains its opinion that the monument is owned by the county and the commissioners' "demand" for a removal plan by October 1 was "relatively abrupt."
The commissioners had voted 4-1 on August 19 — 42 days prior to the deadline — to ask the UDC to submit a plan for removal of the monument, which has been the subject of public derision and defense over the last few months. That decision came a little more than a week after Pugh told Dasher in a letter that the monument “should not be illegally moved or altered” and that it would be “inappropriate that we re-imagine the statue in any way.”
The UDC's ask for a deadline, Pugh's letter states, comes because the chapter is "seeking counsel from all stakeholders to evaluate the issues and options relating to the Monument." Pugh cites the "many in our community" that support the monument as part of the request.
"Collectively, the supporters of the war monument is a large group, albeit a silent group," she wrote. "The supporters are a blend of various faiths, of races, of political parties. Many supporters believe, as our members do, that this war memorial has stood for over a century to honor the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the preservation of the South."
Dasher told the News + Record on Monday that the UDC's request would likely not be granted.
"The letter clearly states that they wouldn’t support removing the monument," he said. "I’m not sure that we’re in really any position to agree to that at this point. If they were saying, ‘Hey, this is complicated and moving a monument is trickier than what we thought,’ I think we would be happy to grant that to them.
"I’m not surprised that they would be looking for more time. But I think, based on what she wrote in the letter, I don’t think that’s something that we’re probably eager to do."
Pugh did write in the letter that the chapter would "embrace 're-imagining' the area around the old courthouse" by "bringing in MORE historical monuments that honor the courageous deeds of diverse variety of members of our community," but did not suggest any concrete ideas as to what that would look like.
You can see the letter below by clicking on each page:
The News + Record is continuing to look into this story, and will keep this post updated as we get more.
Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.