With regard to the Vance Monument, there is an obvious solution to which I truly can’t fathom that no one seems to have entertained. First of all, I’m not even going to get into whether or not it’s a monument to racism. That part is obvious. I am personally offended by any monument to the Confederacy, including the statues that surround the state capitol in Raleigh and their flag. In a city of liberals, I’ve found it strange since the day I came to Asheville. Just so you know, I am white and have lived in the South my entire life.
The monument is directly on the site of the old courthouse where the slave auctions were held. It is the exact location where blacks were sold into bondage. It has always been apparent to me, and yet I have never heard one person suggest it, that the monument be rededicated to them. Instead, they want to tear it down. Why? It is a beautiful piece of architecture that should be allowed to stand. I truly don’t understand why people can’t see this.
In addition, it is about 100 feet from the old Cherokee cemetery near the corner of Lexington Avenue and College Street, probably under the Kress building or one of the nearby parking lots. Go figure. I am certainly not going to debate this. I have researched it, and to some extent I know what I’m talking about. It was actually one of the original tourist attractions in Asheville; however, for all practical purposes, their history has been repressed here since the 1700s. There are constant intellectual and historical debates by the few who care regarding the Native American presence in this area — whether they were Cherokee or someone else.
The currently held belief is that this was an uninhabited hunting ground, despite the burial mounds found down by the river and graves on the north side of the city. I have personally found arrowheads here. I know they were here.
There is no one here who is further to the left than me; however, I do not consider myself a liberal. From my point of view, liberals and conservatives are opposite sides of the same coin, just like believers and atheists. They all think they have some kind of special insight into this world or the world beyond. No one does. I don’t pretend to believe I am right and everyone else is wrong. I’m simply stating the facts as I see them.
It’s all about easy money in Asheville, liberals and conservatives alike. I doubt many people here — besides the construction workers on these buildings that are going to make you rich — would have it any other way. If the powers that be determined they could make more money tearing the monument down, it would be gone in a month, just like the homeless people. I doubt the buskers have much to worry about because they bring in tourists.
In a world full of starving children, people’s idea of charity here is to leave a 50 percent tip to a service worker for doing their job.
Do the right thing. Get your facts straight. That piece of stone is a monument to racism, nothing else. If you can’t rededicate it, just get rid of it.
— Douglas Thompson