At a county board meeting Monday evening in Alamance County, North Carolina, a group of concerned citizens appeared before the board to request that a Confederate statue in the county be left alone, according to Times News, a local newspaper.
While no vote was taken on the removal of the monument, the request pushed one member of the Alamance County board to defend the statues as part of the community’s heritage and say that he is “not ashamed” of his great grandfather who had what he called “workers” on his farm, not slaves.
Commissioner Tim Sutton — who ran for his seat as a Republican in 2016, Times News reported — said he would never vote to remove Confederate statues, which have become a topic of debate at the local and national level after a recent white nationalist protest against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“If it comes down, it goes back up. To heck with facts,” Sutton said, after other county commissioners responded to the request from the Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County (ACTBAC) group. “The emotions have just gone haywire. I am not going to be a victim of political correctness. I am just not going to do it. Label me all you want, say what you will about me.”
He went on to say he wasn’t ashamed by his great-grandfather for doing “what he did” because the “workers” — whom he apparently wouldn’t call slaves — on his family farm were given land.
“It is my understanding that when (my great-grandfather) died, from Sarah, my grandmother, that some guys on the farm, you can call them slaves if you want to, but I would just call them workers, that they raised a good bit of my family,” he said, according to Times News.
“When the time came, my great-grandmother gave them land. I am not going to be an assault on logic, an assault on the history of this country and the heritage of this area and this country. Not going to do it,” he said.
This past weekend, opposing groups of protesters gathered at the Confederate soldier statue, which is 30-feet tall and located in the heart of downtown Graham, N.C. The protest was peaceful, local news outlet WFMY News reported.
While Sutton did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment, criminal justice writer Josie Duffy Rice confirmed on Twitter that she spoke with Sutton who said he wasn’t ashamed of his remarks and said the workers were “part of the family, and they were happy.”
Read More →