Plenty of people fired off their opinions over a Confederate statue.
Feb 20, 2006
Kara Lusk

Should it stay or should it go? A monument that’s been in place for nearly a century is the center of debate in one community. Some are asking Pitt County Commissioners to consider taking down the Confederate monument.

Monday night folks from both sides got to share their feelings in front of the commissioners.

The opinions were as divided as the Civil War, itself.

"The statue embodies racial division and conjures up images of white domination and supremacy that have had a corrosive effect on race relations in Pitt County," said Keith Cooper, who wants the statue removed.

"Confederate and Confederacy are not four letter words. As a veteran, it concerns me how certain segments of our society decide how only select history and heritage deserves a spoke in the wheel of diversity and multiculturalsim, while clamoring to have their own roots remembered," said Jim Ward, who wants the statue to stay.

"President Lincoln referred to the Confederate secessionists as insurgents. Today, we call them terrorists," said Cooper.

"I find this way of thinking not only a disrespectful, slap in the face, but also counterproductive in promoting balance and harmony when recognizing and celebrating the various heritage observances," said Ward.

The statue of the Confederate soldier has stood tall outside the Pitt County Courthouse since 1914. Some say the monument represents a piece of history– that Pitt County was very much a part of.

"Pitt County had 1,376 men that served the war effort. This included both whites and free blacks," said Enoch Reid, who wants the statue to stay.

Those who want the statue to stay say it honors those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for Pitt County and the state, so why sacrifice their place in history?

But those who want it removed say there’s an appropriate place for such memorials.

"We’re not asking that the Confederate monument be torn down and destroyed, we’re asking it to be removed so it can be placed in an appropriate location such as a museum or Confederate battlefield," said Ozie Hall, Jr., who wants the statue removed.

Regardless of where the statue ends up, the monument is like a spoke on a wheel– the wheel of history– that we, too will someday be a part of.

The Pitt County commissioners made no decision Monday night on the monumental controversy, and said they simply need more time to think about the proposals.

However, some commissioners said they would rather spend time on issues to unify the community– such as preventing crime, targeting the gang problem and lowering the drop-out rate.

© 2006 Media General

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