Asheville Council to vote on removal of Vance, Lee monuments today

Vance Monument
TROUBLED HISTORY: The Vance Monument in Asheville’s Pack Square was on June 2, as it has often been in the recent past, both a gathering place for protests against police violence toward black citizens and a target for graffiti and vandalism. The site is associated with the auction of human beings as slaves prior to the Civil War. Photo by Molly Horak

At its meeting today at 5 p.m., Asheville City Council will consider adopting a joint resolution with the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners to remove the Vance Monument and the Robert E. Lee/Col. John Connally marker from their current locations in downtown Asheville. The resolution was newly added to the meeting agenda this morning:

CITY OF ASHEVILLE RESOLUTION NO. 20-________ BUNCOMBE COUNTY RESOLUTION NO. 20-________ JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF ASHEVILLE AND BUNCOMBE COUNTY TO REMOVE THE CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS LOCATED AT THE BUNCOMBE COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND IN PACK SQUARE PARK, AND TO ESTABLISH A JOINTLY APPOINTED TASK FORCE TO RECOMMEND ACTION REGARDING THE REMOVAL OR REPURPOSING OF THE VANCE MONUMENT

WHEREAS, Monuments to Confederate soldiers and military leaders, which were installed in Asheville and many other communities in the South in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries by white Southerners seeking to preserve the Confederacy, are widely perceived as offensive and painful public reminders of the legacy of slavery and present realities of systemic racism in our country.

WHEREAS, A memorial monument honoring the 60th Regiment of North Carolina Confederate soldiers currently stands in front of the Buncombe County Courthouse, sitting on county-owned land;

and WHEREAS, A memorial monument known as the “Robert E. Lee Dixie Highway, Colonel John Connally Marker” is located in Pack Square Park, sitting on city-owned land;

and WHEREAS, Both of these monuments were paid for and erected by a private organization known as the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and ownership of these monuments have never passed to either the City or the County;

and WHEREAS, A memorial monument known as the “The Vance Monument” is also located in Pack Square Park, the former site of the county courthouse which is the likely location where slaves were sold and traded locally;

and WHEREAS, African-American residents of the City of Asheville and Buncombe County have issued a clear call to remove and/or repurpose these monuments as expeditiously as possible due to the harm they pose, and to replace them with monuments that honor local African-American history and are created by African-American artists;

and WHEREAS, The Confederacy was formed by its political leaders for the express purpose of perpetuating and expanding slavery of African Americans;

and WHEREAS, the City of Asheville and Buncombe County recognize that the legacy of slavery, institutional segregation and ongoing systemic racism directly harm public safety and public health;

and WHEREAS, pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 100-2.1(c), the City and County are authorized to remove the two Confederate monuments from public property;

and WHEREAS, The City of Asheville and Buncombe County are committed to promoting racial equity and justice, and desire to express this commitment through a joint resolution of their respective governing boards;

and WHEREAS, The City of Asheville and Buncombe County desire to remove Confederate monuments from the public spaces within the City of Asheville;

and WHEREAS, the City of Asheville and Buncombe County desire specifically to remove the monument to Confederate soldiers from the grounds near the County Courthouse and the Robert E. Lee monument from Pack Square Park;

and WHEREAS, The City of Asheville and Buncombe County desire to explore options for removing, relocating, or making alterations to the Vance Monument;

and WHEREAS, It is the intent of the governing boards of the City of Asheville and Buncombe County that these monuments be replaced or altered in such as manner as to honor the local history of African Americans;

and WHEREAS, The City of Asheville and Buncombe County want to seek citizen input – and particularly to hear from those most impacted by the monuments – regarding the future of the Vance Monument by the establishment of a jointly appointed task force which will explore options including removal, relocation, and alteration of the monument;

and WHEREAS, the City of Asheville and Buncombe County approve this resolution jointly at separate meetings of their governing boards;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ASHEVILLE AND THE BUNCOMBE COUNTY COMMISSION THAT: Request is hereby made to the United Daughters of the Confederacy to immediately remove the two Confederate monuments located at the Buncombe County Courthouse and Pack Square Park. If said removal is not completed within 90 days from the date of full adoption of this resolution, then the City of Asheville and Buncombe County shall take action to remove the monuments; and A jointly appointed task force shall be established by the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commission, consisting of not more than 12 members whose appointments will be made in equal numbers by the two governing boards. This task force shall, within three months of all appointments being made, provide a report to the City Council and the County Commission with a recommendation regarding the removal and/or repurposing of the Vance Monument. Once the report is presented, the task force shall perform such other duties as requested by the governing bodies. When no further action is requested, the task force shall dissolve. Upon passage of this resolution and until such time as the monument is removed or repurposed, it shall be shrouded in order to reduce its impact on the community and to reduce the risk of harm it presents in its current state. Read, approved and adopted by the City of Asheville this 9th day of June, 2020.

_______________________ _____________________________ CITY CLERK MAYOR

Approved as to form:

_______________________ CITY ATTORNEY

 

Read, approved and adopted by Buncombe County this 16th day of June, 2020.

_______________________ _____________________________ COUNTY CLERK COMMISSION CHAIR

Approved as to form:

_______________________ COUNTY ATTORNEY

SHARE
About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email news@mountainx.com.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

44 thoughts on “Asheville Council to vote on removal of Vance, Lee monuments today

    • James

      The US Constitution guarantees freedom of movement. And the last I looked at a map, Asheville is shown as being located in the United States, not some mystical ISIS-like territory known as “The Confederacy.” In THIS country we don’t put up monuments to people who killed 180,000 US troops while defending the right to enslave, torture and kill people on the basis of their race. You call yourself a “first generation American” so I’d have thought you’d have problems with practices like that…

      23
      20
          • Angel

            Just fine, fine, fine. IF you’re gonna make everything to do with slavery disappear. Then the democratic party HAS TO GO ! close all cole mines AND china towns. Never forgotten NINA !!

            17
            11
          • James

            I’ve never herd of a “cole mine” Please tell us all what that is. I’m always open to learning something new.

            11
            20
          • NFB

            A cole mine must be where the dig for cole slaw. I thought cabbage was grown on farms. Who knew?!

            6
            18
          • NFB

            Quite alright. Just know that you have been served notice.

            2
            14
        • James

          Please tell us the last Democrat endorsed by the Klan? And if this is “democratic party heritage” then why are you upset about us taking it down?

          13
          18
      • James

        I suppose we shouldn’t be shocked at the number of people here who by their “thumbs down” indicate they support the killing of US troops….

        12
        18
        • James

          Look! There they go again. Who knew there was so much hate for US troops among the “so-called-patriots?”

          11
          17
    • luther blissett

      Bravely standing up for Asheville native Robert E. L— oh wait.

      16
      21
      • Peter Robbins

        Now hold on there, buckshot. Just because somebody wasn’t born here, and didn’t own no property here, and talked with the fancy words that outsiders use doesn’t mean that — oh wait.

        16
        16
    • Dopamina

      So what do you propose to do about it?

      I see a complaint on the internet your starting point but what do you actually intend to do action wise?

      10
      18
    • C-Law

      Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

      21
      17
      • C-Law

        Imagine that? The local Marxist/socialist/fascist totalitarians down-voting Orwell’s 1984…I couldn’t script their knee-jerk response any better, ha!

        Better have eyes to see and ears to hear…Folks with any sense and morals better see this for what it is…as their last chance to wake up and be prepared for what is coming.

        The totalitarian spirit and murderous worldview infecting your local totalitarians inevitably leads to:

        the Jacobin Terror, the Native American reservation system, the Armenian Holocaust, the Red Terror, the Holodomor, the German NatSoc Holocaust, Mao’s land reforms, Great Leap Forward-Great Famine, Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen Square, the Tibetan genocide, the North Vietnamese land reform massacres, the Killing Fields of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, the Red Holocaust of North Korea, the various purges and massacres in East Germany, Bulgaria, Serbia, Yugoslavia, Castro’s political purges, the Ethiopian Red Terror…that’s enough to start with for now, enumerating the worldwide homicide count of the Marxist death cult would take far to long than the space here allows…don’t think for one second your local totalitarians will not do exactly the same if they ever think they could get away with it.

        If normal, common-sense, freedom and liberty loving folk don’t remove their consent bluntly and forcefully from this totalitarian BS right now, they had better at least read Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, it will give a good glimpse of what is coming to your community, neighborhood, and lives.

        “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows.” Winston Smith

        20
        14
      • James

        Oh the humanity! And you call US snowflakes. (Shall we send you some smelling salts?)

        10
        18
        • Peter Robbins

          Credit where due, though. That’s a clever way to warn people about the dangers of getting carried away.

          7
          17
      • bsummers

        Nobody’s talking about erasing history books. We’re just done with celebrating the dark moments.

        4
        3
  1. Angie

    Destroying symbols of one heritage and replacing them with those of another is not promoting equality. Either represent both or neither.

    27
    23
    • luther blissett

      Define what you mean by “heritage”, “one heritage” and “another [heritage]” and maybe we can work out what you’re trying to say.

      16
      21
    • Dopamina

      If your heritage involves slavery then the statues of your ancestors deserve to be destroyed.

      13
      22
        • James

          dopamina means the people who killed other people to keep slavery going Miss Hysterical Snowflake.

          7
          20
    • James

      You mean the heritage of killing 180,000 American troops? THAT heritage?

      12
      19
      • C-Law

        James—Since you support the purging and erasure of history it isn’t a real surprise that you don’t know much about.

        Here are the facts—Confederate Veterans ARE American Veterans…by law.

        The United States Government Honors Confederate Veterans and the Confederacy. An inconvenient truth that is sure to infuriate you, but hey, once you and your totalitarian comrades get power your Ministry of Truth can wipe all this away.

        For those who believe that the Confederate States of America and the men and women who pledged allegiance to that constitutionally established government and spilled their blood and treasure in its defense are somehow illegitimate and not worthy of honor and protection by the American government, below are those laws and proclamations honoring them and their service and which proclaim that they were equal in honor and worthiness to those who served the Federal cause. Such official proclamations by the Government of the United States removes all claims against the Confederacy and those who served it and protects, defends and honors their symbols, monuments and heroes. In other words, the current assault upon all things Confederate is contrary to the laws of the United States of America and must be resisted vigorously.

        Congressional Act of 9 March 1906 ~ We Honor Our Fallen Ancestors
        (P.L. 38, 59th Congress, Chap. 631-34 Stat. 56)

        This act authorized the furnishing of headstones for the graves of Confederates who died, primarily in Union prison camps and were buried in Federal cemeteries. Remarks: This act formally reaffirmed Confederate soldiers as military combatants with legal standing. It granted recognition to deceased Confederate soldiers commensurate with the status of deceased Union soldiers.

        U.S. Public Law 810, Approved by 17th Congress 26 February 1929
        (45 Stat 1307 – Currently on the books as 38 U.S. Code, Sec. 2306)

        This law, passed by the U.S. Congress, authorized the “Secretary of War to erect headstones over the graves of soldiers who served in the Confederate Army and to direct him to preserve in the records of the War Department the names and places of burial of all soldiers for whom such headstones shall have been erected.”

        Remarks: This act broadened the scope of recognition further for all Confederate soldiers to receive burial benefits equivalent to Union soldiers. It authorized the use of U.S. government (public) funds to mark Confederate graves and record their locations.

        U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410 Approved 23 May 1958
        Confederate Iron Cross (US Statutes at Large Volume 72, Part 1, Page 133-134)

        The Administrator shall pay to each person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War a monthly pension in the same amounts and subject to the same conditions as would have been applicable to such person under the laws in effect on December 31, 1957, if his service in such forces had been service in the military or naval forces of the United States.

        Remarks: While this was only a gesture since the last Confederate veteran died in 1958, it is meaningful in that only fifty-seven years ago, the Congress of the United States saw fit to consider Confederate soldiers as equivalent to U.S. soldiers for service benefits. This final act of reconciliation was made almost one hundred years after the beginning of the war and was meant as symbolism more than substantive reward.

        Additional Note of Critical History: Under current U.S. Federal Code, Confederate Veterans are equivalent to Union Veterans.

        This reconciliation period[*] led up to the Congressional Act of 9 March 1906, U.S. Public Law 810 Approved by 17th Congress 26 February 1929, and the final crown of reconciliation with U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410 Approved 23 May 1958. [*known as The Grand Bargain~ Editor]

        By the President of the United States of America ~
        A Proclamation

        The years 1961 to 1965 will mark the one-hundredth anniversary of the American Civil War.

        That war was America’s most tragic experience. But like most truly great tragedies, it carries with it an enduring lesson and a profound inspiration. It was a demonstration of heroism and sacrifice by men and women of both sides who valued principle above life itself and whose devotion to duty is a part of our Nation’s noblest tradition.

        Both sections of our now magnificently reunited country sent into their armies men who became soldiers as good as any who ever fought under any flag. Military history records nothing finer than the courage and spirit displayed at such battles as Chickamauga, Antietam, Kennesaw Mountain, and Gettysburg. That America could produce men so valiant and so enduring is a matter for deep and abiding pride.

        The same spirit on the part of the people at home supported and strengthened those soldiers through four years of great trial. That a Nation which contained hardly more than thirty million people, North and South together, could sustain six hundred thousand deaths without faltering is a lasting testimonial to something unconquerable in the American spirit. And that a transcending sense of unity and larger common purpose could, in the end, cause the men and women who had suffered so greatly to close ranks once the contest ended and to go on together to build a greater, freer, and happier America must be a source of inspiration as long as our country may last.

        By a joint resolution approved on September 7, 1957 (71 Stat. 626), the Congress established the Civil War Centennial Commission to prepare plans and programs for the nationwide observances of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Civil War, and requested the President to issue proclamations inviting the people of the United States to participate in those observances.

        Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby invite all of the people of our country to take a direct and active part in the Centennial of the Civil War.

        I request all units and agencies of government–Federal, State, and local–and their officials to encourage, foster, and participate in Centennial observances. And I especially urge our Nation’s schools and colleges, its libraries and museums, its churches and religious bodies, its civic, service, and patriotic organizations, its learned and professional societies, its arts, sciences, and industries, and its informational media, to plan and carry out their own appropriate Centennial observances during the years 1961 to 1965; all to the end of enriching our knowledge and appreciation of this momentous chapter in our Nation’s history and of making this memorable period truly a Centennial for all Americans.

        In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

        DONE at the City of Washington this sixth day of December in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-fifth.

        DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

        By the President:

        CHRISTIAN A. HERTER, Secretary of State

        22
        11
        • Shultz!

          Pardon the interruption, but you seem stuck in a loop, repeating the same Henny Penny-style conclusions. No ‘purging’ or ‘erasing’ of history is going on by removing these tributes – it’s demotion of these figures from hero to participant status. Rest assured my friend, slavery, the civil war and these folks’ involvement will not be forgotten.

          2
          2
      • James

        And we all can see that none of you have even TRIED to defend the fact that your people killed 180,000 US troops. Go ahead. Defend it. We DARE you.

        10
        20
        • James

          See? Cowards hide behind thumbs down rather than explain to the rest of us how killing US troops was acceptable enough that all these years later we still want to honor the terrorists who did it.

          6
          15
          • Peter Robbins

            Don’t worry about it. On this thread, comments attract downturned thumbs the way Marse Robert attracts pigeons.

          • James

            I just find it odd that a supposed “liberal” weekly gets such a crowd of white supremacists. Have I been duped into supporting some Fox News-like rag?

            1
            4
  2. Jonas

    I say, remove the Vance completely. The city and country can’t heal or move on until these government sanctioned atrocities are removed to a history musem. The damm Vance stands above two underground bathrooms that were “Whites only” not 50 years ago. Not to mention slaves being actuined off there. Also we need to rename some of the streets here.

    14
    28
  3. Enlightened Enigma

    Ok, when do we change the name of Asheville ? Samuel Ashe AND Edward Buncombe were both SLAVE owners, SO, we MUST rename county and city now! Who’s working on that ?
    Name suggestions: Government Plantation, NC , Utopia, NC , Panacea, NC, or Cesspool NC…but we need a county name too… Turdfloat County works…

    23
    14
      • Lulz

        So says the anti American. Say when do we start taking down Washington’s statue?

        LOL some of old Democrat clowns here once
        we’re spitting on soldiers returning from Vietnam. Calling them baby killers. It’s a stain on leftism that will never be erased. And to sit here now and act all patriotic is eye opening. The clowns today that are acting up think that many whites feel some sense of shame and guilt for the past. I don’t. What I do see is a culture of people instiillwd with the entitlement of being owed something because if their skin color. And others being hated for theirs.

        5
        4
        • James

          I think you are confused. It was the Confederacy that by self-definition was Anti-American. George Washington didn’t kill any US troops to defend slavery. That’s the standard here. And I’ll bet my tax bill against yours that we pay more to subsidize people like you than we spend on people who are still treated like 3/5ths of a person.

          You are upset because some people spit on US troops? Tell us then, why are you so proud of people who KILLED US troops?

          2
          4
        • luther blissett

          You always take a very long detour to avoid saying whether you think secession and starting a war to preserve slavery was a good thing or not, and whether the outcome of that war was a good thing or not.

          There aren’t many statues to those who fought for and with the British in the 1770s.

  4. Steve Eudy

    Must remove the name Asheville. Samuel Ashe, a NC Governor, is the person Asheville is named after. He fought for the Confederacy and his parents lived on a working plantation. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Ashe_(North_Carolina

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.