Request permission from NC Historical Commission for removal of racist Vance monument

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Anyone familiar with Asheville, North Carolina, knows it as the "Paris of the South," but fewer realize that the giant obelisk in the city's center is named after Zebulon B. Vance, a Confederate general and former governor of the state. It's far from the only monument to Vance in the state — there's at least one high school and one county named after the slave-owning general, and a building named for Vance at the local university has been criticized by students. Vance was a slave owner and in the pre-Pack Square days, the area was where slaves were traded and the Bill of Sale for these events were recorded.

Many Civil War monuments were put up to honor Confederate leaders. But the timing of the monument building makes it pretty clear what the real motivation was: to physically symbolize white terror against blacks. They were mostly built during times when Southern whites were engaged in vicious campaigns of subjugation against blacks, and the Vance monument, erected in 1897, is no exception.

No one should think that these statues were meant to be somber postbellum reminders of a brutal war. They were built much later, and most of them were explicitly created to accompany organized and violent efforts to subdue blacks and maintain white supremacy in the South. I wouldn’t be surprised if even a lot of Southerners don’t really understand this, but they should learn. There’s a reason blacks consider these statues to be symbols of bigotry and terror. It’s because they are.

It's past time for this monument to racism to come down.



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