ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — The 109-year-old Confederate monument that sits outside the Pasquotank County Courthouse will move to a new location — but where it will go still has to be figured out.
The Board of Commissioners were split on the controversial issue, voting 4-3 Monday night to relocate the structure made of Georgia granite from its longtime home in the courthouse square. A special projects committee will be appointed to figure out where the monument could go and how much it would cost to move it.
Pasquotank is the latest local government to take such action following the death of George Floyd. Across the county, destructive protesters have toppled statues they say are symbols of oppression. Black Americans in particular have called Confederate monuments “stains.”
“It does not belong on this property,” said Commissioner Cecil Perry, who represents the Southern Inside district. “We all need to learn how to get together and work together and see things that affect other people.”
Under North Carolina state law, objects of remembrance can only be relocated once approved by the North Carolina Historical Commission unless “appropriate measures are required … to preserve the object.” Still, current law only allows the monument to be permanently relocated “to a site of similar prominence.” That means it cannot simply be moved to a cemetery or museum.
“I’m pleased… I believe in compromise,” Commissioner Charles Jordan following the vote. “If it was up to me it would be removed for good, but some people feel strongly about it.”
Chairman Jeff Dixon and commissioners Frankie Meads and Sean Lavin voted against the move.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with color. It has something to do with what happened. It’s history. And that is all it is,” Meads said, adding that he would only be okay with moving the monument if another group wanted to pay to take it.
More than a dozen citizens also weighed in on the issue. The plan is to continue to gather citizen input.