April 4 was the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.. In honor of his memory, a memorial protest led by the Rev. Amy Cantrell of BeLoved Asheville was held at the Vance Monument. For a very good reason.
Isn’t it interesting that this phallic symbol to a white man who owned slaves is given the honor of being placed right in the center of our city? As if it is a monument to greatness?
What message are we really giving to all of our city residents? That only white people count? That we are closing our eyes to what this monument truly stands for? That at this moment in history, when we are so aware of the insidiousness of the Confederate flag, we turn a blind eye to this horrid monument to racism?
According to history, he was a champion of all those who needed to raise their voices. As one who is Jewish, I was surprised to hear he supported the Jews, but he turned a blind eye to anyone of color.
In fact, he was known as a slave owner and for saying that he did not think black people were smart enough to be able to vote. That indeed all ‘they” could do was to be of support to a family.
Is this the man we really want to immortalize?
Did you know that at the same space where this monument stands, slaves were auctioned off?
So each time you admire the iron animals at the monument, please know you are also acknowledging the slaves that were sold like pigs on this very same spot!
Join us at the Vance Monument every Thursday at 4 p.m. through April as we gather to raise our voice against racism.
Take this despicable symbol of racism down now! Take it down! Take it down!
— Ariel Harris