Pitt County Commissioners vote unanimously to donate Confederate monument to nonprofit organization

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -Frustrations were high for some at a board of commissioners meeting Monday as the board voted on whether to donate a controversial monument that once stood in front of the county courthouse.

Supporters of the Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument sat united at the meeting, awaiting the board’s decision to potentially move the monument.

“I feel that everyone in Pitt County has a heritage of some kind,” said Pitt County Confederate monument supporter, Jeff Thomas. “They’re going to take it down. They don’t want that erased so we need to stop it right now.”

The Confederate monument was removed on June 22, 2020, during the middle of the night and has since sat stored inside what the county describes as a “secured place not open to the public.”

“We really want it either in Pitt County like it’s supposed to be or close by because it’s for our area,” said Pitt County Confederate monument supporter, Marcus Karachun. “It was donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to the people of Pitt County.”

Ever since the removal, the county says it tried to think of ways to put the monument to use once again.

During Monday night’s meeting, the board had to decide whether to donate the monument to a nonprofit organization or keep it in Pitt County.

They ended up unanimously voting to donate it.

“I think tonight was a simple decision,” said Pitt County Board of Commissioners Chairman, Mark Smith. “Either we leave it in storage and it collects dust, or we have the opportunity to provide it to a vetted organization that’s going to take care of it and use it for educational purposes.”

Commemorating Honor, Inc. wants to display the monument at Valor Memorial Park in Davidson County, or on the land leased at Lee Jackson Memorial Park in Fairfield, Virginia.

Those in support were upset, but Smith believes it was ultimately the right decision.

“It’s a very divided subject,” Smith said. “There’s going to be people for and against it. We felt like this was the best thing for the county.”

This wasn’t the county’s first attempt at moving the monument.

There was a plan to donate the monument and relocate it to private property on Highway 43 in Chicod, several years ago but it never materialized.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy funded and donated the monument, which was dedicated in 1913.