No decision made on monument relocation

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 21, 2022

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The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing to citizens’ comments concerning the relocation of the Confederate Memorial Monument on Monday evening, April 11.

Following a host of citizens speaking in favor of its relocating and those who wanted to see it remain, the BOS made no decision on the matter.

The monument roundtable committee recommended the proposed relocation of the Confederate Memorial Monument to a site adjacent to the Museum of Charlotte County, only a few feet away, at a cost ranging from $49,000- $60,000.

“I look at the cost of this too,” said Edith Martin during the public hearing. “If the monument offends anyone now wont it offend them moved 30 feet back?”

Kenneth Townsend spoke of his belief in individual freedoms and liberty and suggested the BOS put the issue on the ballot for all citizens to decide.

Former Charlotte Court House Mayor Stephen Walker said, “we can’t move things to make people get along with one another. That’s inherently something that we got to do with our own children and their upbringing. And so, I would appreciate an opportunity for the citizens of the entire County to be consulted in this decision that you’re about to make.”

Another Charlotte Court House resident, Terry Ramsey, agreed with Walker.

“Rather than have the decision made based on input from a few citizens or based on the work of a small committee, it would be much fairer to seek input from votes through a referendum.”

Before meetings end Supervisor Hazel Bowman commented that she did not feel the issue needed to be placed on the ballot.

“I do not think a referendum is appropriate for that,” Bowman said. “I think we selected a committee to look into this, and I think we needed to follow the committee’s recommendation.”

The BOS is expected to make a decision on the matter in May.

The Confederate statue issue, which has faced many localities around the nation, was brought to the county’s forefront in July 2020 when citizen James Morton wrote a letter to the BOS. “I think it is of utmost importance to remove the Charlotte County Confederate Monument,” the letter from Morton said.

Morton said the issue was about government-sanctioned honoring of Confederate soldiers and not about erasing or hiding history.

Despite several citizens having expressed their concerns about the Confederate statue that sits atop a pedestal in the courthouse square and if it should or should not remain there, the BOS decided not to make a decision on the matter in hopes that “things will cool down” and possibly hold a public hearing at some point after the beginning of 2021. The Charlotte County Confederate Memorial was erected in 1902 and stands in tribute to the Confederate soldiers of Charlotte County.

On July 1, 2020, new legislation took effect, giving cities and counties around Virginia the power to remove Confederate monuments they own and maintain under the new law.