HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. -- Hillsborough's Historic District Commission has voted to allow removing the words "Confederate Memorial" from the Orange County Historical Museum.
The museum was built in 1934 as a town library. The United Daughters of the Confederacy, who donated $7,000 to help build the whites-only library, had the copper letters screwed to the building's facade to honor Confederate soldiers. The words "Public Library" were removed when the museum opened in the 1980s.
The commission voted 4-0 last Wednesday to remove the copper letters above door and post a freestanding sign, Commissioners said that would keep the character of Hillsborough's downtown historic district, the News and Observer of Raleigh reported.
A special group will write a passage about the site's history and the recent vote, said Planning Director Margaret Hauth, who added she doesn't know when the new sign will be posted.
Removing the letters doesn't violate North Carolina's new law prohibiting removing or altering public monuments because the letters were screwed on, indicated they weren't meant to be permanent, town attorney Bob Hornik said. Something like an inscription on the building would be considered permanent, the attorney said.
Supports of the move said they think it will allow the museum to have its own name and help all visitors feel welcome.
Around 500 people gathered August 8 for the Southern Heritage Ride and Rally in downtown Hillsborough to show their support for the lettering.
A post on the pro-Confederate group's Facebook page emphasized their goal, "We are representing our pride for our great state of North Carolina and we are making this great stand towards what we all know as our heritage and our history now and for many years to come."
Others gathered to protest the rally and show their support to remove the letters above the museum.
"The Official Southern Heritage ride is not about preserving Southern history, but about highlighting and continuing a racist system that gives white people power and privilege at the expense of people of color," said resident Noah Rubin-Blose.