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Jackson County Gets First Look At Confederate Monument Changes

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Lilly Knoepp
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The base of the monument which features a Confederate flag was covered in December 2020.

Eight months ago, Jackson County Commissioners voted to keep the county’s Confederate monument in Sylva – but with some historical context added to it.   BPR reports on the first glimpse of what the changes will look like:

Chairman Brian McMahan and Commissioner Gayle Woody shared proposed wording that will cover up the Confederate flag and inscription on the base of the monument known as Sylva Sam.  The new wording highlights its 1996 rededication to both Confederate and Union soldiers.  It would also go a step further and add the words “E Pluribus Unum” to the base, explained McMahan:

“That would be going with this theme that we were divided as a nation but then we came back together after the Civil War united as one. That would be the only recommended changes to the whole monument,” said McMahan.  

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Credit Courtesy of Jackson County Commissioners
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An inscription will be added on the base of the monument that reads “E Pluribus Unum.” The Latin phrase means “Out of many, one.”

Commissioners still on the board from last year’s vote call these changes a compromise.  It hasn’t satisfied both supporters and opponents of the statue.  Commissioner Tom Stribling, who wasn’t on the board at the time of last year’s vote, voiced his disagreement that the statue is being updated at all.

“That’s a shame. That’s history right there. I don’t understand it. But I guess that’s what you voted on and I don’t really have a say so,” said Stribling.

Commissioners are also recommending historical panels be placed around the monument to provide further context.

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who 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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