Sylva Sam

Lilly Knoepp

The Confederate monument known as 'Sylva Sam' is Jackson County now has its updated plaque. 

County commissioners in August voted to change the plaque on the statue outside the old Jackson County courthouse to remove the Confederate flag on it as well the inscription to ‘Our Heroes of the Confederacy.’ 

The changes were completed Monday afternoon, says Commissioner Gayle Woody.  

Lilly Knoepp/BPR News

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. 

Lilly Knoepp

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:

Lilly Knoepp

It’s been two months since Jackson County Commissioners voted not to relocate Sylva Sam.  However, anger about the statue remains. 

Sylva Sam still stands on its perch in front of the old Jackson County courthouse, though it is fenced in now.  Down the steps on Main Street, “Black Lives Matter” is routinely drawn in chalk on the sidewalks.

Lilly Knoepp

Jackson County Commissioners voted on Tuesday night to keep the county’s Confederate monument in its place. But the conversation over Sylva Sam is far from over, as evidenced by what happened during and immediately after the vote.

The discussion over removing Sylva Sam from its perch in front of the old county courthouse created at least two new groups - Reconcile Sylva and the Jackson County Unity Coalition.  Both are mostly based on Facebook.  

Many members attended Tuesday’s commissioners meeting which was both virtual and in-person. 

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

The town of Sylva has seen its share of vigils and marches following the death of George Floyd.  The most recent over the weekend focused on the Confederate monument that overlooks downtown. 

Traffic backed up along the detour route Saturday as two separate demonstrations set up – one seeking the removal of the statue of a Confederate soldier on the old Jackson County Courthouse steps, and the other wanting it to stay. Demonstrators who want the statue, known as "Sylva Sam," to keep its perch met in a parking lot behind the Old Courthouse.

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Sixteen people spoke during the Jackson County Commissioners public comment period on Tuesday night about the Confederate soldier statue which stands in the middle of the old Courthouse steps. 

 

The county commissioners are set to discuss creating a task force to decide the monument's fate at their July 14 work session. Many who spoke say they would consider a taskforce a step in the wrong direction.