ASHEBORO — The Asheboro City Council has been asked to support a resolution to establish a committee to come up with a solution to the Confederate monument in front of the Historic 1909 Courthouse.
A group led by Clyde “Chip” Foust Jr., head of the Randolph County NAACP, appeared before the council on Aug. 4 to seek support in the form of a resolution that would be presented to the Randolph County Board of Commissioners. The 1909 Courthouse and grounds are owned by the county and any action involving the statue would have to be approved by the commissioners.
Jon Megerian, a local attorney, told the council that the resolution being presented to them would be theirs to amend as they wished. It asks for a committee to be formed to study the issue.
Chuck Egerton read the resolution then said, “We’re very passionate about this,” adding that moving the statue “can make Asheboro a better place.”
Susie Scott, former chair of the Randolph County Democratic Executive Council, said that as a girl she wasn’t taught the true history of the Confederacy and the Civil War. “Slavery in Randolph County was a human atrocity,” she said, noting that she learned details more recently. Scott added that the statue on the courthouse grounds sends the wrong message about the city and county.
Foust said the issue is so important to them because the statue is detrimental to the true history of Randolph County. He assured the council that any committee looking into the monument would include people from all sides to come up with “a plan best suited for Randolph County.”
Many in the county, Foust said, “value ancestors of Confederate soldiers more than ancestors killed by those soldiers.” He said history shows that at least 14 local men were killed because they refused to serve in the Confederate army. Those men and others who fought for the Union should be honored, including the first soldier in North Carolina, who was from Randolph County, to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“We’re asking the City Council to stand with us,” he said. “It’s something that must be done.”
Bishop Michael Trogdon, a local church pastor, asked, “Why is this such a difficult decision to make?” He said those opposed to moving the statues would consider compromise as a loss. “But compromise has always been at the detriment of Black people. We’re constantly told to move on, but we’re constantly confronted with things that remind us” that Blacks have been held back.
Foust then said, “There’s no denying history,” including county records showing the sale of small children to people in other states and the presentation of young slave girls to men as gifts. He also said that historical documents show that leaders of the Confederacy made sure that their constitution denied states the right to do away with the slavery of Black people.
“We need your help,” he told the council. “It’s not just the NAACP and the Black community. You are elected officials. Your job is to make problems right. It’s time to do the right thing.”
Mayor David Smith said the council members would study the resolution, discuss it and make a decision.