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Window closing for public comment on Confederate statues

The N.C. Historical Commission’s Confederate Monument Study Committee will take comments from the public for one more week.

In a telephone meeting Thursday afternoon, the committee voted to end public comment at midnight on April 12.

At issue are three Confederate monuments on the capitol grounds and a request from Gov. Roy Cooper that they be removed.

The statues are:

  • The 75-foot Capitol Confederate Monument, erected in 1895, which commemorates North Carolina’s “Confederate dead.”
  • The Henry Lawson Wyatt Monument, erected in 1912, which commemorates the first Confederate soldier killed in the Civil War combat at the Battle of Bethel on June 10, 1861.
  • The Monument to North Carolina Women of the Confederacy, erected in 1914.

A law passed by the N.C. General Assembly in 2015   makes it more difficult to remove such statues or “objects of remembrance.”

That law was passed in response to a growing movement to move or remove Confederate monuments. The law makes such requests the business of the Historical Commission, which appointed a committee to study the issue.

Last month the committee heard comments at a public meeting attended by about 60 people – most of whom spoke in favor of keeping the monuments where they are.

The commission has heard much more from the public online, where it has so far received 4,682 public comments through an online portal created to get feedback.

Another part of the committee’s charge: getting input from historical experts and legal advice from the law schools at Duke University, Elon University, N.C. Central, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University, Campbell University and from the UNC School of government.  The committee heard on Thursday that of those, so far, only the UNC School of Government has responded to the committee’s request to weigh in.

The full commission will meet next month and is expected to hear a report from the Confederate monument task force.

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