ASHEBORO — Joel McClosky, co-owner and CEO of Four Saints Brewing Company, has publicly announced support of the Asheboro City Council’s resolution seeking relocation of the Confederate statue in front of the Historic 1909 Courthouse.
McClosky not only wrote a letter with the Four Saints letterhead and emailed it to 129 recipients before posting it on social media, he also read the letter to the Randolph County Board of Commissioners at their Oct. 3 meeting.
“We firmly support the resolution,” he said of the City Council measure. He said the stance of Four Saints is not politically motivated “but rather the safety, the people, and the improvement of our community.”
While acknowledging that the move could cause the business to lose customers and “face backlash and anger,” McClosky said, “We will stand with courage, grace, and purpose because doing the right thing matters most.”
The Confederate statue has been the source of much conversation at commissioners meetings for about two years. The board voted unanimously at the March 11 meeting to keep the statue as is where it is. That hasn’t stopped the comments, however, as those opposed to the monument being on public property continue to address the issue at each commissioners meeting.
Then on Sept. 8 the Asheboro City Council voted unanimously on a resolution that asks the county to relocate the statue “to some other respectable placement as soon as possible.”
McClosky led off the public comments period at the commissioners meeting on Oct. 3. He was followed by four other speakers in favor of moving the statue.
Nancy Bunch said she felt sure she has ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. But there were also “local citizens against the war,” as well as Union sympathizers. “Asheboro should be a welcoming community,” she said. “I want my city and county to be a place of unity … and should welcome all people.”
Kathleen Gee read a poem by a friend in support of removal of the statue. The poem was titled “Take It Down.”
Franklin Suggs said that despite claims that removing the statue would be tantamount to erasing history, “We know that people from Randolph County fought for the Union and some died for not serving in the Confederate army. We know this without a monument. We can find the information in the library. Documents cement history. Please start a conversation to remove the monument without delay.”
Clyde Foust Jr., head of the local chapter of the NAACP, said the record is clear why they want the monument moved: First, he said, a veterans monument would have to memorialize people who fought for the United States. “It’s not a true monument,” he said. Second, because of the number of families adversely affected by the Confederacy, including deserters abused and killed and slaves who were abused. Third, Foust said, the Confederate vice president said the problem with the US Constitution was the equality of the races, that whites are superior to blacks.
Speaking against moving the statue was Eli Harman, who said “a tiny minority are keeping (the issue) alive in Randolph County. Their tactic is to get what they want and don’t offer anything in exchange. They’ll want something else tomorrow. Where does it end? They wish to deprive us of our heroes.”
Bobby Allen said he “would like to see the issue put on the ballot in 2024 and see what the true feeling is.”
Four Saints letter:
To whom it may concern:
Asheboro's City Council unanimously and courageously passed a resolution seeking relocation of a Confederate statue from its current placement on Randolph County Courthouse property in Downtown Asheboro.
Four Saints Brewing Company is privileged to be a part of the Asheboro and Randolph County community. As part of this community, we firmly support the recently adopted resolution without equivocation or hesitation.
In doing so, we join with Asheboro's City Council, shoulder-to-shoulder, in sending the message that "Hate Has No Home Here" and "All Are Welcome."
There is no political motivation behind this support. It is not politics that is the focus of our public support, but rather the safety, the people, and the improvement of our community.
As a company, we understand that our support of the resolution may result in losing customers and support for our business. We may face backlash and anger. If so, it will not be the first time we have encountered such reactions. We will stand with courage, grace, and purpose because doing the right thing matters most.
Asheboro and Randolph County have a bright future. Relocating the Confederate statue, which represents separation instead of togetherness, is only one step forward to that bright future and crucial to our community’s prosperity.
We believe there will be more public support for the City Council’s resolution from other local businesses, organizations, and individuals. We believe this because people genuinely know the right thing to do for the greater good and a better future. And they know the worst thing they can do is to choose to do nothing.
Ultimately, it will be up to our elected Randolph County officials to make the courageous decisions necessary to ensure the future and legacy of our community. And, we believe they will because they can.
Cheers, and thank you,
Joel A. McClosky
Co-Owner and CEO