Vance Monument in Asheville covered, task force sought to determine memorial’s future

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – A confederate memorial in downtown Asheville is expected to be removed or relocated soon, but for now, it’s covered with a shroud.

7 News learned more about the future of the Vance Monument in Pack Square and what the community has to say about it.

“It’s the right move to take it down because some people are upset still,” Dominique Thomas said. “It shows the fact that, back in the day, my ancestors were taken advantage of.”

“I think they should take it down. The sooner the better,” Emma Naqvi added. “It does come off offensive because of what, during the Civil War, the confederate soldiers were fighting for, to keep slavery.”

A monument honoring confederate soldiers named after former North Carolina governor and known slave owner Zebulon Vance still stands. But on Friday, the monument was covered.

The plan is to remove or re-purpose the monument in the near future, but city and county officials said a task force of 12 members must first be created to determine the monument’s future.

The task force’s job will be to gather public input and find a way to honor the local history of African-Americans.

Until then, officials said the covering’s purpose is to “reduce its impact on the community and to reduce the risk of harm it presents in its current state.”

“I think it’s good for them to cover it just in case other people will be trying to take it down themselves,” Thomas said.

Some folks said they were happy with the decision, saying it’s time for change and the covering reminds them that change is on the way. Others said it won’t change much.

“They can remove the monument all day long, but it’s not going to change the history,” Richard Stuphin said. “We can’t go back and change history.”

Overall, community members told 7 News they want whatever will bring about unity.

“I would like to see more of not tearing down, but more of existing side by side,” Pam Sutphin said. “Build up the black history beside the white history.”

“We move on,” Richard Sutphin said. “We learn from it, we learn from our mistakes, and we move forward.”

While Buncombe County is already in the process of interviewing possible task force members, the City of Asheville is still looking for potential members. If you’d like to apply, click here.

All eligible task force applications will be sent to city council members for review on July 24. They will then vote to appoint six members on July 28, while the county will vote to appoint six on July 21.

The task force will present a final report of recommendation to the city and county about what should be done with the Vance Monument within three months after being appointed.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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