- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A longstanding Confederate monument was gone Wednesday from its location outside a historic courthouse in North Carolina where it was erected more than a century earlier.

Construction crews dismantled the Confederate statue overnight after a recent court ruling cleared the way for its removal from outside the Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro, a small town roughly 40 miles west of Raleigh.

Placed outside the courthouse in 1907, the monument was originally gifted by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, or UDC, to honor Confederate veterans of the Civil War.

Chatham County commissioners voted in August to remove the monument, and a Superior Court judge ruled last month that a local chapter of the UDC had failed to make a sufficient case for keeping it in place.

More recently, a protest held over the weekend at the monument culminated in a violent brawl that resulted in the arrest of several individuals.

“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,” Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Dasher said in a statement, local media outlets reported. “What’s clear now is that the overwhelming majority of our residents are eager to move forward.”

Recent polling shows a majority of North Carolina residents think Confederate monuments should stay in place. A recent survey conducted by Elon University Poll released Wednesday morning found that 65% of respondents said Confederate monuments should remain on public, government-owned property, compared to 35% who said they think they should be removed, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

North Carolina state line protects any “monuments, memorials and works of art owned by the state” from being removed, but it includes exceptions for items owned by private parties located on public property, such as the statue in Pittsboro, the Chatham News and Record reported.

The North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said in a statement that the group was “outraged” at the monument’s dismantling and accused the county of acting illegally “like a thief in the night, under cover of darkness.”

“There are still legal issues that simply cannot be resolved to allow the move,” the group said in the statement.

The monument was dismantled overnight “to better ensure public safety and lessen the impact to the traveling public,” Chatham officials said in a statement. It was done “respectfully,” and both the statue and its pedestal are being safely stored until the local UDC chapters find a place for them, the statement said.

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