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Jackson County Moves Forward With Confederate Monument Changes

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Lilly Knoepp/BPR News
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The monument over Sylva is still covered and surrounded by fencing. Photo taken May 19, 2021.

Jackson County Commissioners voted last night to move forward with plans to update the Confederate monument, known as 'Sylva Sam', who sits below the Jackson County Public Library Complex.

County Manager Don Adams shared that the plaque to cover the current Confederate flag on the monument will cost about $14,000 including installation. AOA signs in Yadkinville provided the estimate. 

The plaque also will cover language honoring the Confederate side of the Civil War with a new inscription highlighting the monument’s rededication. The monument was “rededicated” in 1996 to “Jackson County Veterans of all wars.”

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Credit Courtesy of Jackson County Commissioners
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Jackson County Commissioners shared an updated mock up of the statue at the May 18th meeting.

Adams estimates the sign company will be able to installed the plaque in about three months.

“It’ll probably be let’s say three months because he’s got to go through, we have to approve the design and then once he orders it 8 weeks to produce,” said Adams.  

The vote to move forward was 4-1, with Commissioner Tom Stribling voting against.

Commissioners are still working on what will be written on the historical panels that will be placed around the monument.

Eight months ago, Jackson County Commissioners voted to keep the county’s Confederate monument in Sylva – but with some historical context added. The first look at the new inscription was presented last month.

Chairman Brian McMahan explained why the words “E Pluribus Unum” will be added the base.

“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 at the April meeting.  

The Sylva Town Board asked for the county to remove the monument in July 2020.

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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