City leaders going forward with removing Rocky Mount’s Confederate monument

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) — After being in Rocky Mount for more than a century, a Confederate statue is going to come down.

Rocky Mount City Council approved the removal on Monday night.

Since 1917, the statue’s lined the edge of Battle Park.

“It just makes everything look bad when you drive by. It just brings a lot of memories with our ancestors, our grandparents, everyone before us,” said Regina Lyons who lives in Rocky Mount.

Rocky Mount City Council’s decision to remove the statue has been fueled by years of controversy.

“It makes no sense to spend this kind of taxpayer money to remove this monument,” said one person at the council meeting.

More than two dozen people showed up to the council meeting to express their opinions.

“It’s an eyesore in our community and it has blood on its bronze,” said one resident.

The majority of people were in favor of its removal. They said it promotes racism and inflicts pain on many.

“That right there is just a reminder of the hardship everyone’s been through and it definitely needs to go ahead and be brought down,” said resident Jennifer Evans.

Those against the statue’s removal said it is history, racism exists regardless of the statue and it’s an expensive process that takes taxpayer dollars away from other projects.

“The monument is a testament to white supremacy and it doesn’t need to be in our city,” said resident Cooper Blackwell.

A city spokesperson said council member W.B. Bullock voted against the removal as he wants clarity on the legal ramifications. All other council members voted yes.

“There’s a lot of contentious debate around the statue and it’s moving being legal, but is it the right thing to do? Yes, it is. Is it the right time to do it? Yes it is,” said Blackwell.

The mayor said if he would’ve been needed as a tie-breaker vote, he also would’ve voted to approve the removal.

It’s still unclear what the removal plan and cost is going to be.

“I think it’s beautiful the conversation is even being brought up because it’s going to start shining a light on deeper issues (beyond) a statue,” said resident Stephen Whitehead.

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