ASHEBORO, N.C. – Since 1911, guarding Randolph County’s Historic 1909 Courthouse, stands a bronze Confederate soldier.
He’s a memorial to the Confederate veterans of Randolph County.
One local believes it’s time to remove this part of history and make it a thing of the past.
Dr. Wesley Fennell, a photographer, active community member and former NAACP president, asked commissioners to remove the monument and replace it with one that honors the Quakers during the public segment of the Commissioners’ meeting on Monday, August 7.
Fennell says that keeping the statue is “just not right,” and makes the community a less welcoming place for diversity, due to the values of the Confederacy.
He believes that a memorial to honor the Quakers should take its place instead.
The board did not respond to Fennell’s comments during the meeting.
“Our County commissioners have not made any decision, or even discussed the issue of monuments,” said Hal Johnson, Randolph County Manager.
Johnson noted, “this is a unique opportunity to discuss the real history of Randolph County.”
According to Johnson, and as Fennell also points out, Randolph County was part of a vote in 1861 in which 90% of its citizens voted to stay in the Union.
The County also has a history of helping slaves run away through a group of locals supporting the Underground Railroad.
Some locals are not in favor of Fennell’s opinions and say that removing the monument would dishonor the history of the soldiers that fought in the war.
Jordan McDuffie, a descendant of Confederate soldiers, believes it is unfair that her relatives who fought in the Civil War be removed from history this way.
“This is my heritage, this is what I believe in, and just because someone is offended by it, I don’t think it should be a reason for it to be removed.”
Johnson says that the county sees its monuments from a historical point of view and are up to individual interpretation. He calls to Randolph County Historic Preservation Commission to compile the history and meaning of the monuments in the community to provide the information to citizens.
Randolph County now joins the extensive list of cities where citizens have asked to remove Confederate monuments.
Fennell hopes commissioners will eventually take action and remove the statue.
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