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Jackson County Doesn't Move Forward With Confederate Monument Task Force

Lilly Knoepp
Blue Ridge Public Radio
The base of the monument on the old Jackson County courthouse features a Confederate flag.

Jackson County Commissioners did not to move forward with creating a task force to discuss the fate of a Confederate statue in Sylva.  

At a Tuesday work session, all commissioners could agree on was that something should be done to improve the context of the statue known as “Sylva Sam,” which sits on the steps of the old Jackson County courthouse.

There is a movement to remove the statue, and another group who wants to keep the statue. 

Commissioner Boyce Deitz explained that his opinion of the Confederate flag has changed over the years. 

“I don’t think good thoughts when I see that flag. That statue is fine but I don’t like that flag. I really don’t,” says Deitz, during the Zoom meeting. “And if everybody in the county likes it and thinks it’s great - which it may be.  I don’t like it. And I will not say otherwise.” 

There is a Confederate flag on the base of the monument. The commissioners expressed some interest in covering that part of the statue with a plaque or some other solution.

Credit Lilly Knoepp
Commissioner Gayle Woody held up a notebook of signatures from a group who wants the Confederate monument to remain on the hill. Woody says a group gave her the petition on Saturday at a demonstration.

Commissioner Gayle Woody previously brought up a resolution to form a task force that could compromise on the fate of the statue. At the meeting, Woody said constituents had told her they would not feel safe being a part of such a discussion group. 


“I would never want to put them in a situation where they would be attacked or be treated disrespectfully,” says Woody. 

The town of Sylva commissioners are set to discuss the monument on  July 23. The town banned Confederate imagery on town property at its last meeting.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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