CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s largest city is forming a 15-member commission to address the city’s Confederate symbols.
The commission created by Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles will review monuments and street names tied to the Confederacy and the legacy of Jim Crow, The Charlotte Observer reported. Recommendations are expected by December.
The Charlotte City Council will appoint 10 members of the commission and Lyles will appoint the other five, council member Larken Egleston said.
In the past several weeks, Charlotte City Council members have acknowledged residents asking for monuments to be removed and streets to be renamed, according to Egleston. Recently, Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board members announced plans to change the name of Zebulon E. Vance High School, which is named after a Confederate general.
In addition to making recommendations, it would also look into who has authority over the monuments, Egleston said. A 2015 state law prohibits an “object of remembrance” from being removed, with few exceptions.
Community historian Tom Hanchett said almost every street laid out in Charlotte before the 1870s was named for someone who owned slaves.
“This is a disturbing history that is so woven into community histories all over the South that it deserves exploration and has often been just taken for granted,” Hanchett said. “And so having a commission that focuses specifically on that important and troubling part of our past seems like a very good step.”
Stonewall Street, named for Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson, runs through what was once the heart of a Black neighborhood called Brooklyn, demolished in the 1960s and ’70s in the name of urban renewal.
The street ends at Bank of America stadium, which was once home to Good Samaritan Hospital, the first private hospital built exclusively for Black people in the state.
The stadium also sits on the site of the first documented lynching in Mecklenburg County, in 1913, when 19-year-old Joe McNeely was dragged from his hospital bed and shot to death by a white mob.