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The Daily Planet's Opinion: September 2017
Monday, 04 September 2017 15:39

Keep Vance Monument; add recognition of blacks

The future of the centerpiece of Asheville, the Vance Monument (located in Pack Square), is up in limbo, as of this writing.

We think it is vitally important to preserve the 65-foot tall granite obelisk, erected in 1896 and designed by famed local architect Richard Sharp Smith. It was fashioned after the Washington monument. The towering structure reportedly was meant to be seen from the distance, something to reflect the far-reaching influence of its namesake, Zebulon Baird Vance (1830-1894).

Vance, born near Weaverville, was a Confederate military officer in the American Civil War, governor of North Carolina, congressman, and U.S. senator. 

However, the monument’s prominence also has triggered recent calls for its removal because Vance owned slaves and raised a militia. Yet he also owned a reputation for preaching compassion for other marginalized people — in particular, Jews.

What’s more, it should be noted that the Vance Monument is not a statue portraying a Confederate soldier, but rather an abstract-shaped memorial to Vance as one of North Carolina’s greatest statemen.

We think a better path forward would be to build new monuments (near Vance’s) to slaves and sons of slaves who helped to build Asheville and make it the great — and diverse — city that it is today.
 



 


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