City to have public meeting on ‘Fame’ June 17
SALISBURY — The City Council has picked June 17 as the date of a special meeting to talk about the “Fame” Confederate monument.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the Salisbury City Council Chambers at City Hall, 217 S. Main St. The only details in a notice of the meeting are that its purpose is “to conduct a meeting regarding the Confederate statue located on West Innes Street.”
The meeting comes after Mayor Al Heggins attempted to gather various groups to talk in private about the monument, which was dedicated in 1909 and sits on land conveyed to the United Daughters of the Confederacy by the city. The monument is dedicated to Rowan County soldiers who fought for the Confederacy. It shows a winged figure cradling a soldier.
During a meeting in May facilitated by Heggins, representatives of Rowan Museum, Salisbury-Rowan NAACP, Salisbury Indivisible and Women for Community Justice were in attendance. Representatives of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans were invited but did not attend.
After the meeting, Heggins said she was willing to talk to the two Confederate groups and that both are welcome at City Hall just like anyone else.
Heggins held the May meeting after “Fame” was vandalized with paint in March for the second time in less than a year.
Speaking about the planning of the upcoming special meeting, Heggins also said, “It’s going to be critical that we establish factual context for ‘Fame’ and that we get that information on the space upfront, so that individuals are able to hear from historians, experts in the area around institutional and structural racism.”
Mayor Pro Tem David Post said he expects a lot of people to attend the next meeting and that he hopes things don’t become too emotional. Post and City Manager Lane Bailey attended the private meeting organized by Heggins.
But the June 17 meeting won’t be the first time the City Council has heard from the public or talked about “Fame.”
In July 2015, after a deadly shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, one month earlier, a standing-room-only crowd produced 42 speakers who weighed in on the Confederate monument. After the shooter was identified, images of him posing with symbols popular among white supremacists, the Confederate Battle Flag and a manifesto in which he expressed opinions about other races were found. Court proceedings revealed that he had hoped to start a race war.
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