Alert: Chatham board votes to take down Confederate statue

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The Chatham County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday night to start the process of removing the Confederate statue in front of the historic courthouse in Pittsboro.

The motion was introduced by Commissioner Jim Crawford, and it was seconded by Commissioner Karen Howard.

As the Howard spoke, she was heckled by supporters of the statue, who called her and the others on the board “traitors to the county.”

Commissioner Diana Hales also spoke in favor of removing the statue, as did chair Mike Dasher. The vote passed 4-1, with Commissioner Andy Wilkie voting no.

According to the motion, the United Daughters of the Confederacy have until Oct. 1 to communicate their plans in writing to the board. If it fails to do so, the statue will be considered trespassing on the courthouse grounds and will be removed on Nov 1.

Supporters of the statue’s removal claim that public documents show the statue was not in fact gifted by the UDC to the county, but rather dedicated to Confederate dead. The board sided with this interpretation, saying it allowed them to begin the process to remove the statue without violating state law.

Twenty-nine people were scheduled to give public comment, though a few failed to speak.

The meeting room at the courthouse was packed, with people standing along the walls. The courtroom holds roughly 240 people.

Howard stressed that the statue not be destroyed, but rather moved to a different location.

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