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A tale of two monuments

Neighbors in Faison are defending a Confederate monument in town while others in the area have been taken down.
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 8:23 PM EDT
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FAISON, N.C. (WITN) - Confederate symbols in states across the country are being removed, including here in Eastern North Carolina.

But one memorial in Faison has remained untouched and neighbors and officials want to keep it that way.

“Every other place I’ve seen does have that big show,” said Sharon Franklin, a former Duplin County history teacher. “The statues are up high, and the horseman and the general are up high.”

Franklin lives around the corner from the memorial on Faison Avenue which honors the Confederate dead. While she supports the removal of other statues across the country, she said the statue in Faison just doesn’t represent the same level of Confederate power as others have.

“They bought them, they put them up everywhere. It was part of this really vicious attempt to change history,” said Franklin. “If it’s being saved made people in our community feel lesser or disrespected, I would be fine with moving it.”

A history buff, Franklin said it’s important to remember, but not glorify history, like the Civil War and the issue of slavery. Which is why, right down the street, she founded a different memorial. A memorial to remember the lives of slaves who died working on a nearby plantation. She soon found out they were buried right below where the memorial stands today.

“We knew that the cemetery was here,” said Franklin. “We called it the lost cemetery because we had a record of it but we had no idea where it was. Just being able to say you were here, you were here and you meant something,u added to our community.”

In a call with WITN News, Faison Mayor Carolyn Kenyon said the memorial was a positive reminder of the area’s history, and that the town had no interest in taking the memorial down, but would not comment any further.

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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