Pitt County Commissioners vote to move Confederate statue that was removed last year from courthouse


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Pitt County Commissioners voted unanimously on Monday to move the Confederate statue that was removed last year from the Pitt County Courthouse to a new location.

WNCT’s Ford Sanders reports the statue will be moved to a location on NC Hwy. 43 South in southern Pitt County, on private property owned by former commissioner Ephraim Smith. There is no timetable for when the statue will be moved.

“I’d like to say that everyone that was at that meeting, it is a fact that we decided to go ahead and move it,” said Tom Coulson, District B commissioner.

“It’s about parallel over to Ayden in terms of how far down into the southern part of Pitt County,” County Manager Scott Elliott said.

On Jan. 11, a relocation committee recommended to the commissioners that the monument be donated to the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. The monument will be maintained by the non-profit corporation. The committee also acknowledged in Monday’s meeting the prior commitment of the county commissioners to pay for the cost to relocate and re-erect the monument on its original pedestal.

The removal of the statue, which was donated by members of the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1914, began on June 22, 2020. On June 15, 2020, the commissioners voted 7-2 to remove the statue, citing a safety concern.

The removal cost the county $30,000, County Manager Scott Elliott said back in June. The total project would cost $100,000, Elliott also said.

The statue was removed in pieces, with the base removed the following day.

The removal of the statue was prompted in part by the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 while he was being apprehended by Minnesota police. He was pinned to the ground by an officer’s knee in an incident that was captured on video and sparked months of protests nationwide.

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