Franklin County residents ask Board of Supervisor members to consider removal of confederate statue

Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 5:31 PM EDT
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A three-minute time limit pushed one speaker from the podium as he explained to members of the Franklin County Board of Supervisors why the monument of a confederate soldier should stay erected in front of the courthouse.

"If you've never been a victim of it, you're going to walk right past it," said Henry Turnage, who has been protesting the monument for the past week.

Turnage wants it removed and put in a museum.

"I want this statue respected and put in its proper place, it's a part of all of our history, I do not want to rewrite history, history is everywhere, I just want it in its proper place; that's it," said Turnage.

That message was conveyed by Arthur Tolliver to the board Tuesday afternoon, and he was the only other person to speak about the statue during the afternoon public comment section.

"This is not an attempt to create hostility within the community but rather to create an open conversation," said Tolliver.

And it's a conversation that is just getting started.

"This is a starting point for the discussion. Our board will have to make determinations about next steps; we haven't had that discussion yet," said Lorie Smith.

More than just the seven members of Franklin County's BOS will have to be included, as the statue is within Rocky Mount town limits, meaning their town council will be involved.

Throughout the commonwealth, the decision for removal of similar statues has extended from Richmond to now Norfolk, so now the question is if it will extend to Franklin County, too.

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