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Asheville Mayor Agrees With NC Governor - Confederate Monuments Should Come Down

UPDATE 2:11 p.m. Wednesday - Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer says she agrees with North Carolina governor Roy Cooper that all Confederate monuments in the state should come down.  In an email statement to BPR News, Manheimer said, "Now is the time to stop glorifying those who supported the oppression and enslavement of people because of the color of their skin. This practice is a pillar of institutionalized racism that we have an opportunity to knock down."  There are three Confederate monuments in Asheville's Pack Square in downtown.

ORIGINAL POST - North Carolina governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday evening his belief that all Confederate monuments throughout the state should come down.  His announcement comes a day after protestorspulled down a statue of Confederate soldier in Durham.  That happened in response to Saturday's white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman was killed when a car was driven through counter protesters.

In a video statement posted on his official Facebook page, Cooper said "We can't continue to glorify a war fought against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery."  Cooper said he was also worried protestors could get hurt trying to take down other Confederate monuments around the state similar to what happened in Durham, or that white supremacists like those who gathered in Charlottesville last weekend might try to stop them leading to further violence.  He also called on the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal a 2-year-old law that prohibits local governments from taking down monuments without the approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission.  He also called on lawmakers to vote downa bill that passed the House this year that grants civil immunity to drivers who hit protestors that block roads as long as the vehicle operator was "exercising due care."  The bill has not been voted on in the Senate, and it appears the body will not be taking it up.

Asheville has three Confederate monuments in downtown's Pack Square.  They include the 65-foot tall Vance Monument, which honors Zebulon Vance, who served as North Carolina's governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during the post-war Reconstruction period.  Vance owned slaves before the war and fought hard against the full granting of civil rights to freed blacks after the war.  There is also a marker in front of the Vance Monument that bears the likeness of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.  It was placed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  A third monument, near the current Buncombe County courthouse, honors Confederate troops.

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.
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