Courtney Ritter, a stay-at-home mom who moved to Pittsboro from Alabama in 2002, has been at the forefront of recent protests demanding the removal of the Confederate Memorial that has stood in front of the historic Chatham County courthouse since 1907.

Last night, she and her fifteen-year-old son watched under the daggers of work lights as the copper-and-granite celebration of the men who fought for a white-supremacist rebellion was dismantled. Save for the occasional cheer, the crowd around them—about seventy-five people, according to The News & Observer—was mostly silent. 

“The way that I parent is to show my children that, by the color of their skin, the place that they were born, the education they will receive, that they are privileged,” Ritter says. “The struggle for equality and diversity never will end really—not in their lifetimes.”

County commissioners had voted in August to remove the monument by November 1, but the United Daughters of the Confederacy sued to block the county’s plans. Since the vote, protests and counter-protests have taken place every Saturday. (Eleven people were arrested at last week’s protests.)

A judge lifted an injunction last week, and six days later, the county removed the monument.  

“The last several months have been a painful time for Chatham County. We’ve experienced high emotions, division, and even violence which have impacted residents, businesses, and the overall feel of our community,” said Mike Dasher, who chairs the Board of Commissioners.

Unsurprisingly, the North Carolina division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was “outraged.” 

“[We are] outraged at the latest disturbing action of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners,” the SCV said in a statement. The group believes that the board made up controversy, invited protestors, and removed the statue “like a thief in the night, under the cover of darkness.” (You can, uh, support the Sons by ordering your very own SCV specialty license plate from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, which is a thing that somehow still exists in 2019.) 

More surprisingly—or, at least, more depressingly—most North Carolina residents seem to think the Confederate fetishists should get to keep their treason participation trophy, according to a new poll from Elon University. In fact, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they thought Confederate monuments have a place on public property, even though two-thirds also recognized that black people are likely to find them offensive.

Doing some back-of-napkin math, that means that one-third of the people surveyed understand that Confederate monuments are horribly offensive reminders of racial oppression, but don’t think that’s a problem. 

The poll’s silver lining, if you want to call it that: A slight majority thinks the monuments should be relocated to cemeteries, and a larger majority thinks we should stuff them in museums. Nearly three-quarters of residents think that, while we venerate men who were willing to kill and die to preserve chattel slavery, we should also put up a plaque noting the fact that they were willing to kill and die to preserve chattel slavery—or, as the poll describes it, “historical context.”

“Our findings suggest that a compromise might have broad support in local communities grappling with controversies about Confederate monuments,” says Jason Husser, the poll’s director.

(Really, who wouldn’t want to compromise with the kinds of folks who erected a Confederate flag outside of the historically black Horton Middle School in Chatham County? They seem nice.)

There are, of course, three Confederate monuments still on the grounds of State Capitol in Raleigh, even after protesters toppled Silent Sam at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018 and a Confederate statue in downtown Durham the year before.

For now, though, a patch of earth in front of the Chatham County courthouse is seeing the sun for the first time in a century.

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8 replies on “After 112 Years, Chatham County Took Down Its Civil War Participation Trophy”

  1. The ignorant headline writer at your publication needs to understand that “participation trophy” is a late 20th Century idea that the monument raisers had no concept of. The monument is a memorial to Chatham County soldiers who died in war. Removing it is equivalent to bulldozing the Vietnam Wall or blowing up the USS Arizona memorial in Honolulu.

    The fake anti-racists who pushed for the removal likely are unemployable thugs paid by some Soros-funded hate group. Their claims that Confederate artifacts “hurt people’s feelings” is fraudulent. The war on Confederate heritage is an expression of hatred for white Southerners, past and present, by people like the non-North Carolinian, neo-carpetbaggers on the county commission, and their violent, thuggish minions in antifa.

    The vast majority of those who respect Confederate history and heritage are not racists; the number of white supremacists among them is vanishingly small. There is far more hated in the fraudulent “anti-racist” thugs making war on the monuments.

    The war on Confederate heritage, and the drumming up of hatred for white people, are moving the country toward a horrific conflict that while make the 19th century war look like a minor disagreement. If that is what you want, congrats, you’re doing a great job of moving us toward that horror.

  2. Funny how most of the people involved in what is going on in Pittsboro don’t even live there. Most of the protestors were white on both sides? What’s even more interesting is an elderly black person asked why are we fighting over this statue? Our community got along fine till a few trouble makers came along to make it out to be something it wasn’t. I say send them the bill for cost of taking it down.

  3. Lincoln led Republicans controlled both houses of the 37th Congress. One of their select committees was the “Committee on Emancipation and Colonization.” The following resolution from that committee explains exactly what motivated Northern “anti-slavery.” Anti-slavery meant nothing more than “anti-black;” and to rid the country of an “inferior race” to prevent amalgamation. It was this kind of immoral racism that led to Southern secession in the first place. Is it any wonder that the MISSISSIPPI Declaration of Secession laments that the North “seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.” If this is why the South was “pro-slavery,” in order to protect their black neighbors from Northern racism, what else are we not being told about the cause of secession and war?

    37th Congess.
    No. 148. REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON EMANCIPATION AND COLONIZATION,In the House of Resentatives, July 16, 1862:

    “It is useless, now, to enter upon any philosophical inquiry whether nature has or has not made the negro inferior to the Caucasian. The belief is indelibly fixed upon the public mind that such inequality does exist. There are irreconcilable differences between the two races which separate them,
    as with a wall of fire. The home for the African must not be within the limits of the present territory of the Union. The Anglo- American looks upon every acre of our present domain as intended for him, and not for the negro. A home, therefore, must be sought for the African beyond our own limits and in those warmer regions to which his constitution is better adapted than to our own climate,and which doubtless the Almighty intended the colored races should inhabit and cultivate.

    Much of the objection to emancipation arises from the opposition of a large portion of our people to the intermixture of the races, and from the association of white and black labor. The committee would do nothing to favor such a policy; apart from the antipathy which nature has ordained, the presence of a race among us who cannot, and ought not to be admitted to our social and political privileges, will be a perpetual source of injury and inquietude to both. This is a question of color, and is unaffected by the relation of master and slave.

    The introduction of the negro, whether bond or free, into the same field of labor with the white man, is the opprobrium of the latter… We wish to disabuse our laboring countrymen, and the whole Caucasian race who may seek a home here, of this error… The committee conclude that the highest interests of the white race, whether Anglo-Saxon, Celt, or Scandinavian, require that the whole country should be held and occupied by those races.”

    General Lee exclaimed:”The best men in the South have long desired to do away with the institution of slavery, and are quite willing to see it abolished. UNLESS SOME HUMANE COURSE, BASED ON WISDOM AND CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES IS ADOPTED, you do them great injustice in setting them free.”
    CSA Governor Henry W Allen Jan 1865

    “To the English philanthropist who professes to feel so much for the slave, I would say, come and see the sad and cruel workings the scheme.–Come and see the negro in the hands of his Yankee liberators. See the utter degradation–the ragged want–the squalid poverty. These false, pretended friends treat him with criminal neglect. William H. Wilder, He says the negroes have died like sheep with the rot. In the Parish of Iberville, out of six hundred and ten slaves, three hundred and ten have perished. Tiger Island, at Berwicks Bay, is one solid grave yard. At New Orleans, Thibodaux, Donaldsonville, Plaquemine, Baton Rouge, Port Hudson, Morganza, Vidalia, Young’s Point and Goodrich’s Landing, the acres of the silent dead will ever be the monuments of Yankee cruelty to these unhappy wretches. Under published orders from General Banks, The men on plantations were to be paid from six to eight dollars per month, In these orders the poor creatures after being promised this miserable pittance, were bound by every catch and saving clause that a lawyer could invent. For every disobedience their wages were docked. For every absence from labor they were again docked. In the hands of the grasping Yankee overseer, the oppressed slave has been forced to toil free of cost to his new master. I saw a half-starved slave who had escaped from one of the Yankee plantations, he said “that he had worked hard for the Yankees for six long months–that they had ‘dockered’ him all the time, and had never paid him one cent!” The negro has only changed masters, and very much for the worse! And now, without present reward or hope for the future, he is dying in misery and want. Look at this picture ye negro worshippers, and weep, if you have tears to shed over the poor down-trodden murdered children of Africa.”

  4. Let`s get this straight…
    RE: “celebration of the men who fought for a white-supremacist rebellion”
    —The average Confederate soldier was NOT fighting for slavery.
    Why not?.. Because the average young soldier was a simple farm boy, not a Plantation owner.
    The large plantations were where slavery was prevalent. Slavery paid-off for the plantation owners, not the average small farmer. The large plantation owners were the power in Southern government, and it was they who had the most to gain from slavery, along with the slave traders….such as Nathan Bedford Forrest (now there is your true southern-born racist oppressor!)
    Ironically; it was also the plantation owners –the major slavers–who could, and did– BUY their way out of army service, while agitating to keep ‘Southern Rights’ in place.
    The average Confederate soldier was not fighting for oppression, was not fighting FOR the right to own slaves–because they did not own slaves themselves. Slaves cost MONEY.
    Would YOU risk your life for the right for someone else to own something that you could not?
    The current trend seems to imagine that the entire Confederate army rode into battle wearing white KKK hoods.
    Further; the Union is considered as being ‘The Good Guys’.
    North GOOD…South BAD. …..My, how simple.
    The worst race riot in America at the time happened in…NEW YORK CITY. After the Emancipation Proclamation, hordes of Irish immigrants, enraged at the thought of freed slaves moving North and taking all the jobs, rioted for 3 days . Blacks were lynched from gaslight poles.
    Meanwhile; the largest Anti-Slavery organization in the nation, ‘The Heroes Of America’, over 3000 members, met for the duration of the war…in RALEIGH, NC.
    All of this can be readily and easily verified.
    As for the statues; the ” celebration of the men who fought for a white-supremacist rebellion “…
    Well, my answer to this would be…MORE Statues.
    I personally would like to see a statue of Frederick Douglass . (why there has been no major motion picture devoted to this courageous man`s extraordinary life is a mystery to me).

    You do NOTHING about correcting a wrong when you hide it, pretend that it did not happen, or make yet another mistake by willfully dumbing-down history.

  5. The North did a great job of twisting the truth. After importing slaves on the many ships they built and getting rich doing so, the North blames South for slavery.

  6. …are exhibits A through F about why there’s still a thord of the state that recognizes the offense these statues cause but still think they’re OK to have.

    “…so, the North blames South for slavery…”

    Yes. The north abolished slavery. The south LEFT THE UNION AND FORMED A NEW CONFEDERATION because they didn’t want to stop owning people. Those are pretty de facto examples of “good” and “bad”.

    “Our community got along fine till a few trouble makers came along to make it out to be something it wasn’t.”

    I suspect that most of your community just kept quiet, in light of a local government and population that thought hero worship of slavery was OK.

    ” If this is why the South was ‘pro-slavery’, in order to protect their black neighbors from Northern racism, what else are we not being told about the cause of secession and war?”

    Um, no? The south was pro-slavery, because they wanted to keep owning slaves. It’s nothing more complicated than that. You can couch it in “Oh they won’t be able to support themselves, oh we give them places to live and work to do, blah blah blah”, but the end result is, the states that seceded did so because they wanted to keep owning people. Every statement of secession says so, in pretty plain English.

  7. This article further highlights why your publication is only suitable for firestarter or birdcage lining. Henceforth I will collect every issue I can find in one of your boxes and make sure it ends up in one of those two places.

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