Buncombe County removed a memorial to Confederate soldiers that stood outside the county courthouse early Tuesday morning. It's the second Confederate monument to be removed this month in downtown Asheville after Asheville city council and Buncombe County commissioners approved such removals last month following a week of protests calling for racial justice.
The memorial outside the courthouse was officially known as the 60th Regiment/Battle of Chickamauga monument. The resolution lawmakers approved last month called for its removal, as a well as a marker containing the likeness of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that stood in front of the Vance Monument in Pack Square. That was removed last Friday. The Vance Monument is now covered in a shroud that was finished last week. Both the city and county are appointing members to a task force that will determine the monument's fate. The 65-foot high obelisk is dedicated to Zebulon Vance, who was North Carolina's Governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during Reconstruction. He owned slaves prior to the war, and fought vigorously against civil rights for Black Americans.
A 2015 state law prevents the removal of such monuments unless they are moved to areas of 'similar prominence.' Supporters say the removal of the two Confederate monuments in Asheville fall because they are privately owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The Vance Monument does fall under the state law. Asheville city council unanimously approved the monuments removal, while Buncombe County commissioners did so on a narrow 4-3 party line vote, with Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing.