Per the joint city and county resolution that established the group, a “recommendation regarding the removal and/or repurposing of the Vance Monument” must be delivered to Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners within three months of Aug. 4, when the final members were appointed.
“I believe the city and county ought to embrace the obelisk and repurpose it for a monument that stands for freedom and rights for every citizen who breathes the air of this nation.”
“Plainly and unequivocally, common sense says keep the slave where he is now — in servitude,” declared Zebulon Vance, in a May 16, 1860 address to the House of Representatives.
Asheville City Council unanimously adopted a joint resolution with Buncombe County to remove two Confederate monuments at the Buncombe County Courthouse and in Pack Square Park. The resolution also convenes a task force to further explore the removal or repurposing of the Vance Monument in downtown Asheville.
The 1860 census records show that Buncombe County had 1,907 slaves and 283 slave owners. Yet even today, some local historians say people are unaware that slavery existed in WNC.
On Aug. 31, 1906, Asheville mourned the loss of George Willis Pack.
Separate incidents in Canton and Buncombe County over the past week highlight the racial tensions that have dominated headlines throughout 2017 in WNC and across the country.
“If we remove the Vance name and plaque, we will dispose of all positive and negative connotations imposed upon it. We will reduce it to its purest form — an obelisk of stone, sun and shadow. Now the monument is free.”
“It’s because of teachers like Ready that there is so much anger and violence today, including that against statues and monuments to some great Americans who they have put in a proverbial box as ‘racist’ when there’s so much more to them and what they did for our country.”
Pack Square lies at the center of Asheville’s sense of itself as a city, but recent attention to the area — and the monuments to Confederate figures located there — has highlighted a curious anomaly of history and law: No one can say for sure who owns the piece of land where the Vance Monument sits.
” I think we should put out a request for proposals from artists and community members, and create a panel of local activists, artists and historians to assess them. Get the new equity manager involved. Something fitting and beautiful will come out of that.”
Several hundred people assembled at the Vance Monument in downtown Asheville on Sunday evening, Aug. 13, to express opposition to a white nationalist gathering that took place in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.
With the recent removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans and other Southern cities capturing national headlines, local residents, historians and scholars once again turns their eyes to Asheville’s Confederate landmarks and what they symbolize to our community.
Murder and outrage are frequent and the absence of civil law encourages the wickedly inclined.
“I believe he well deserves our respect and the monument that stands in his honor!”
“I am all for never seeing a Confederate flag again, but we need proper context for our precedents who lived in a world so different from our own.”
“To ignore the positive things that have occurred in our history is an injustice. Sadly, it seems, most people today want to turn everything into a racial issue.”
“What message are we really giving to all of our city residents? That only white people count?”
“Should we change the name of the Lincoln Memorial and the many other buildings and monuments that pay tribute to the great men and women of their time?”
“History should be left alone to be understood and appreciated. It should not be a matter of current approval. Some of us respect Vance.”
“Other U.S. cities are removing Confederate symbology and monuments. Let’s not waste any more time — Asheville needs to join them, now.”