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Meeting to focus on Confederate monument

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The Confederate monument on Falls Road.

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Monday, May 21, 2018

City officials are hosting a meeting Tuesday to discuss the Confederate monument on Falls Road.

Debate over the fate of controversial Confederate monuments exploded last year following violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists clashed with counter-protesters over the removal of a Confederate statue. Simultaneously to arguments in Rocky Mount, protesters pulled down a Confederate statue in Durham.

The difference between those monuments and the one in Rocky Mount is the Rocky Mount monument sits on private land near the entrance to Battle Park while the other monuments were on public property.

Rocky Mount Mayor David Combs called for calm last summer, saying he wants the city to find common ground.

“The objective is to have as diverse a group as possible in order to have a meaningful conversation,” said Archie Jones, the city's human relations director.

The dialogue session, first of a planned aeries of Community Conversations, will be held at 6 p.m. at the Booker T. Theater. The sessions are meant to improve race relations in the community, according to organizers.

Three other projected meeting dates are being planned for June. Depending on attendance, an additional meeting may be scheduled, said Tameka Kenan-Norman, the city's chief communications and marketing officer.

Following these sessions, a report, which will include feedback from the community about the statue, will be provided to the Rocky Mount City Council.

The sessions will be facilitated by WPR Consulting, a Charlotte-based firm that previously provided training to equip the Rocky Mount Human Relations Commission and other volunteers who will serve as community meeting facilitators for the sessions.

Anyone planning on attending should RSVP by calling the Department of Human Relations at 252-972-1181. 

While these sessions will focus solely on the Confederate monument, the format could be used again, city officials said.

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