Local News

Some Oxford residents want Confederate statue moved

Posted June 19, 2009 5:42 p.m. EDT
Updated June 20, 2009 6:40 a.m. EDT

— Some Oxford residents want a statue that has honored Civil War soldiers for more than 100 years in the town moved to a less visible location.

The 30-foot monument stands in what will be the front of an expanded city library, and residents, like Eddie McCoy, say that when the library is finished, more people will see the statue.

They say they find it offensive and want it moved to the Old Oxford Cemetery, a few hundred yards away.

The city of Oxford has said it would allow residents to move the statue if they are able to raise the necessary funding to do so.

But Ronnie Boyd, commander of the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, doesn't think the statue should be moved. He said it has to do with heritage and has nothing to do with race or slavery.

"These men, in this period of time, they answered the call, just like our men and women of the armed forces answer the call today," Boyd said. "I'm proud of my heritage, and I'm proud of my history."

The statue played a role in Oxford's 1970 race riots, when some people threw a rope around the statue to try to take it down.

McCoy, who says he was part of that group, doesn't want the statue destroyed but out of sight.

"It's just as simple as that," he said.

The Granville County Board of Commissioners voted this week to move forward with plans to expand the library and keep the statue where it is.

"The monument is a tribute to the Confederate dead of Granville County of all races," Granville County Manager Brian Alligood said in a statement.

Granville County lost 260 people in the Civil War.

"The monument is one of thousands to the dead of our country's most tragic war," Alligood said.

McCoy said a petition opposing that decision is circulating.

Confederate statues can be found throughout the state, and so can the controversy.

For years, the Silent Sam statue has stood in the face of controversy on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. The United Daughters of the Confederacy gave the statue to the university as a memorial to the 321 alumni who died in the Civil War.

A minister in Pitt County also tried to remove the Confederate statue from the courthouse lawn there, because, to him, it express support for slavery.