Alamance County leaders to address Graham Confederate monument as debate resurfaces

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GRAHAM, N.C. — Community leaders are set to speak as debate rekindles over Graham’s Confederate monument.

At 10 a.m. Monday, more than two dozen people are set to speak at a news conference at Alamance Foods in Graham.

Speakers are to include Mayor Ian Baltutis of Burlington, Mayor Ed Hooks of Mebane, Mayor Lenny Williams of Gibsonville, Mayor Carissa Graves-Henry of Green Level, Jim Powell, Elon University President Connie Book, Elon University President Emeritus Leo Lambert, Alamance-Burlington School System Board Member Patsy Simpson, School Board Member Steve Van Pelt, School Board Member Brian Feeley, School Board Member Wayne Beam, Kathy Colville, Elon Alderman Quinn Ray, Elon Alderman Emily Sharpe, Doug Williams, LeAndra N. Ratliff, Mebane Councilmember Sean C. Ewing, Mebane Councilmember Patty Philipps, Mebane Councilmember Jill Auditori, Alamance NAACP President Barrett Brown, Jim Bryan, Preston Hammock, Lavern Delaney, Mandy Eaton and Laura Vail.

The debate over the Confederate monument that sits outside the Historical Alamance County Courthouse has returned to light as groups continue to make their stances known.

Over the weekend of June 20, two groups of people descended upon the monument.

One, protesting the placement of the statue, while others, who support the statue where it stands, held Confederate flags and stood next to it.

Things became aggressive when two men confronted two people who were there to film the protests.

One man was charged with disorderly conduct, while another was charged with assault on a female.

“It was very tense; it seems to be a threat to public safety at this point,” Graham Chapter of the NAACP President Barrett Brown said.

The debate over the statue has been a battle of his for years.

He said it’s about trying to “have some truth and reconciliation, it’s time for this monument to go for all sorts of ethical and moral reasons.”

In the past he explained that he and his group have had conversations with county leaders. They want to see the statue moved to a different location.

“If the monument was in a museum, or on a battlefield, where it could be an educational tool with context, that would be completely different,” he said.

In those attempts, his group got far into the conversation, but the debate over who owns the land, the statue, and who can move it, have been a major hold up.

Those who oppose the monument being moved anywhere without a vote from the public argue it belongs to the public and no one else.

“That is a local representation of the people from Alamance County who died during the Civil War,” said Gary Williamson, the founder of ACTBAC.

He argues that the monument is not a symbol of hate, but heritage.

“It is a representation of the people of Alamance County who, at the time, felt like they were fighting for what they believed in,” Williamson said.

As the conversations grow over it, so do the discussions about where to move it.

While Brown points toward a setting that provides historical content, Williamson fears it would be vandalized if moved anywhere else.

FOX8 reached out to all of the Alamance County Commissioners. The only person who responded was Commissioner Tim Sutton.

He said the commissioners have not had a chance to discuss this recent issue.

He does not know if this would be a topic placed up for a vote in the near future. He even stressed that it could be left up to the newest members of the county commissioners, as most of those on the board were looking to leave after this term.

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