On Nov. 19, the Vance Monument Task Force voted to remove the downtown Asheville obelisk.
“Black and African-American residents as well as other residents of the City of Asheville and Buncombe County have issued a clear call to remove the Vance Monument due to the harm it continues to impose on our community,” said co-chairs Oralene Simmons and Deborah Miles. “By removing the monument, we are joining southern cities from Richmond to Raleigh to New Orleans to address the symbols that linger from the Civil War and Jim Crow that foster hate and racial terrorism. We want Black and African-American residents and visitors to feel welcomed in our downtown. We hope that the removal of the Vance Monument will begin the healing process for the Black, African-American and Indigenous individuals in Asheville.”
In June, the Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Board of Commissioners jointly appointed the task force to recommend action regarding the removal or repurposing of the Vance Monument. The task force decision to remove the monument comes at the end of a multi-week, community-led process of historical education, public input, and engagement as named in the joint resolution by the City of Asheville and Buncombe County.
Through the process, more than 600 public comments were received, including those of Noel Nickle. The direct descendant of the Vance family spoke in support of removal and said: “Removing the monument does not erase my family’s legacy, but it does represent a small step toward repairing the harm my family legacy imposed upon this community, which I call home and I deeply love. On behalf of my family, I thank you for your work.”
The recommendation will now go to the Buncombe County Commissioners and Asheville City Council, who will vote in December to consider the recommendation and determine next steps for removal logistics and funding sources.
While public comment is now closed, public can access the archive of agendas, minutes, public comments and recorded meetings here: https://publicinput.com/VanceMonumentTaskForce.