The state has decided to hold more hearings to solicit feedback on a plan to build a monument to African-Americans on the grounds of the State Capitol.
The new hearings, to start next week, include Raleigh, which was left off the original schedule, as well as Winston-Salem, Asheville and Wilmington. The state held four hearings in March in Greensboro, Charlotte, Rocky Mount and Fayetteville.
Gov. Pat McCrory recommended in late October that the N.C. Historical Commission endorse the idea of a new monument to commemorate the achievements of African-Americans in North Carolina. The plan, supported by members of the historical commission and the N.C. African American Heritage Commission, would end a 25-year moratorium on the construction of statues on the State Capitol grounds.
“The construction of this monument has already garnered widespread support and feedback from throughout the state,” McCrory said in a statement Monday. “These additional hearings will allow more people to play an active role in helping the state recognize the contributions African-Americans have made to North Carolina.”
At the hearings, members of the two commissions will describe possible locations, materials and themes for the monument, then listen to what people think about it. The hearings will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the following Tuesdays:
▪ April 12 at St. Phillips African Moravian Church and Heritage Center in Old Salem, 911 South Church St., Winston-Salem.
▪ April 19 at the Asheville YMI Cultural Center, 39 Market St., Asheville.
▪ April 26 at St. Stephen AME Church – Sloan Chapel Annex, 501 Red Cross St., Wilmington.
▪ May 3 at the State Capitol in downtown Raleigh.
Anyone wishing to voice opinions about the new monument can also visit www.ncdcr.gov/monuments-feedback.
McCrory and officials with the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources say the new monument would not cancel out the planning and construction of the Freedom Monument Park, a public art project that’s been in the works since 2002. The Freedom Monument project aims to develop a monument to reflect the African-American experience in the state on North Wilmington Street, across from the Legislative Building.