Gastonia Council Of Understanding Votes To Recommend The Relocation Of Confederate Monument

The Latest (7/13/20):

GASTONIA, N.C. — After three meetings, the Council of Understanding voted on Monday 7 to 5 to relocate the Confederate monument outside the Gaston County Courthouse.

Moises Miranda joined the six members of the council who were originally in favor of the statue’s removal to vote in favor of recommending the statue’s relocation. Those members are Rev. Thomas Gillespie, Pastor Dickie Spargo, James Muhammad, Joe Will, Cheryl Comer and D’Andre Nixon.

The council’s recommendation will now be delivered to the Gaston County Board of Commissioners for their review and potential action by the Council of Understanding chairman, Commissioner Tom Keigher. Keigher was a non-voting member.

The Board of Commissioners meets next on July 28th.

Some of the members in the majority, following the vote, made recommendations to the Board of Commissioners to potentially donate the monument to a private organization, such as the statue’s original owner – the United Daughters of the Confederacy or the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The process evoked some heated discussion at times.

James Muhammad said the back and forth arguments about the questions of the history surrounding the statue didn’t resolve the hurt some members of the community still feel.

“This is not what brings our community together,” Muhammad said of the statue.

Council member Jim Stewart – one of the five who ultimately voted to keep the statue in place – recommended a course of action that included modifying the statue to make it representative of veterans of all wars, and removing the Confederate markers from the statue’s base.

Original Story (6/25/20):

GASTONIA, N.C. — Gaston County Commissioners are looking for residents who are willing to join a panel to discuss the future of the Confederate statue outside the courthouse.

According to a news release, at the request of Gaston County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tracy Philbeck, County Commissioner Tom Keigher will form a Council of Understanding to discuss the future of the Confederate monument that sits in front of the Gaston County Courthouse.

Keigher, the longest-serving member of the Board of Commissioners, is set to assemble a panel of 12 individuals. Keigher said he is seeking six individuals from each side of the debate who are willing to sit down and discuss the issue in good faith.

Each county commissioner will appoint one individual to the council. Commissioner Keigher and Chairman Philbeck will work to select the remaining six individuals.

The goal is to ultimately creating a recommendation to deliver to the Board of Commissioners.

“It’s my hope that through research, study, then debate, a vote will be taken and we’ll submit that decision to the board,” Keigher said.

Those who wish to be considered for the position should contact Commissioner Keigher at and include their name, contact information, their stated position on the monument and availability to meet for several midday meetings at the County’s Administration Building in Gastonia.

For Additional Information:

Click here for more information on the Gaston County Confederate Statue outside of the courthouse.