ASHEBORO — The resolution asking to move the Confederate statue in front of the Historic 1909 Courthouse, passed last month by the Asheboro City Council, brought a flurry of pros and cons at the Oct. 6 meeting.
The resolution was in response to efforts by many in the community to have the statue moved from government property. In March, the Randolph County Board of Commissioners, which has jurisdiction over the courthouse, voted unanimously to keep the statue, as is, where it is.
Joel McClosky, CEO of Four Saints Brewing Company, led off the public comments period by reading a letter he had presented Oct. 3 to the county commissioners. In the letter, he supports the city’s resolution and thanks the council “for doing the right thing for our Asheboro community.”
Dwain Roberts, commander of the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, took the opposite side. “I’m really disappointed in the decision you made on the monument,” he said “You’ve called us racists. You think we’re all a hate group.”
Roberts also accused the council of calling Confederate ancestors “white supremacists and racists,” including “my mother. It looks like we need a good draining of the swamp of the Asheboro City Council and government.”
Barry Stutts said he didn’t believe the Confederate statue is racist but that it honors the Civil War dead. “For me, it’s our Southern heritage.”
Eli Harman told the council that he was “disappointed in the decision. Asheboro is different and ought to remain different. (The statue) serves as a memorial to those who fought to defend our state. You’ve made a grave error in trying to appease those people.”
Clyde Foust Jr., head of the local chapter of the NAACP, said those opposed to the statue are not asking for it to be destroyed but to be relocated. “Destroying it is a bad thing, when you act like it didn’t happen. Don’t destroy it but put it in a place where people can honor their ancestors.”
Charlie Lyons thanked the council for the resolution. He said he had seen plenty of comments on social media and “a lot of people are on board.”
Tammie Coley said, “As a child, I did not understand the statue.” But after moving away and living in other cities for a number of years, she’s come back to Asheboro. “Coming back and seeing it, it’s so offensive. I feel better now that a body supports moving the statue.”
Maria Foust, a student at the NC School of Math and Science, said she’s been promoting Asheboro to people at school. She said, “My government passed a resolution to move the statue. I tell everybody their voice matters and they can actually make change.”