State News

Black leaders want 'offensive' Fayetteville city seal changed

Posted July 15, 2015 9:06 a.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2015 5:43 p.m. EDT

— Black leaders in Fayetteville are calling for the removal of the image of the Market House building from the city seal, saying it is a symbol of slavery.

Past president of the Fayetteville Area Minority Lawyers Association, Allen Rogers, has written the mayor and city council asking the seal be changed. The president of the local NAACP agrees.

"I think it is offensive and I think it's divisive," Rogers said. "As we try to attract people and businesses in Fayetteville, I think it does nothing to help that cause."

Slave sales were conducted in Fayetteville near the Market House, although there is little evidence the building itself was used.

Councilman Chalmers McDougald issued a statement Tuesday saying the Market House has been a subject of controversy.

"For many people in our city, the Market House stands for something that is noble and historic. At the same time for many others in Fayetteville, the Market House is a deeply offense symbol of a brutally oppressive past," he said. "The Market House, while an integral part of our City's past, does not represent the future of our City. Fayetteville has become one of the most diverse cities in the country with people from all over the world. They symbol of our great City must likewise reflect the strength of this diversity and the many other positive aspects of our community."

McDougald said he intends to ask City Council members to direct the City Manager to rebrand the official logo by removing the Market House.

In the 1990s, Fayetteville police took the Market House image off cruisers and police patches. The fire department removed it from their uniforms.

"I don’t believe we should try to erase our history but instead learn by it and our mistakes so that we may continue to celebrate our diversity. We are not Baltimore, Charleston or Columbia we are Fayetteville, the best, most diverse and unique City in the Southeast. We as a community are not divisive or racist and if someone is having those thoughts, perhaps they should look inward and work on their own prejudice," Mayor Nat Robertson said in a statement.