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Vance Monument Fully Shrouded, Lee Marker Removed

Crews completed the shrouding of the Vance Monument in Asheville's downtown Pack Square, while removing a marker in front of the 65-foot high obelisk that contained a likeness of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

Both Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted last month to remove the Lee marker and a memorial to Confederate soldiers in front of the county courthouse.  The resolution also calls for the Vance Monument to be shrouded until a task force decides its future, whether it will be removed or re-purposed.  The deadline for applications to join that task force is Friday. 

A contractor started work this week in shrouding the Vance Monument, and on Friday morning removed the Lee marker.  Officially called The Robert E. Lee Dixie Highway, Colonel John Connally Marker, it will be placed in storage according to the city.  The soldiers memorial still stood Friday.  No word was given on when it will be removed.  

The Vance Monument honors Zebulon Vance, North Carolina's governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during Reconstruction until his death in 1894.  The monument was completed four years later.  Vance owned slaves prior to the Civil War and served in the Confederate army before becoming governor.  As a U.S. Senator, he fought against civil rights for Black Americans.  There are also statues of him in the U.S. Capitol and on the grounds of the North Carolina state capitol in Raleigh.  Last month, Asheville city schools said it would rename an elementary school named in his honor, just weeks after the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system did the same for a high school named for Vance.

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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