UDC requests extension for monument plan, supports 'reimagining the area' around courthouse

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 9/23/19

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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UDC requests extension for monument plan, supports 'reimagining the area' around courthouse

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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 zhorner@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.


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Cliff Page

Individuals or organizations that characterize Monuments to the Confederacy or its political or military leadership or its veterans are promoting hate speech and racism. The majority of soldiers in the Confederacy were white Southerners, although not exclusively so. Until 1865 blacks were not required to meet the draft to serve in the military. Even when this was changed, they had to be freed to do so. None-the-less blacks did serve in the Confederate military and 20% of the Confederate Navy was composed of black men. This was principally a white man's war against other white men. Even though the Confederate military was integrated and the Union forces segregated. Therefore an attack on the Confederate Veteran is a racist attack on white men.

Likewise, anyone who claims that the War between the States was over slavery is ignorant of history and when in a position of political influence and power to do so they are expressing political slander. To move or remove monuments to the Confederacy is a slander not only to the State of North Carolina but to all the Southern States that seceded from the Union with just cause and fought valiantly against an invading force of the United States. To contextualize any monument to promote a black racist agenda is outrageous and should demand a recall of any public officials who promote such tripe. Clearly, the school system in Pitt County is lacking if its grown-up leaders, now in control are so ignorant that they would even consider any kind of proposal to denegrate a Confederate monument in any way.

Monday, September 23, 2019
S. Beaudry


Monday, September 23, 2019