New twist in fight to erase Market House from Fayetteville logo, letterhead

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Talk of removing Fayetteville's Market House as part of the city image actually began weeks before the effort to take the building off the city's logo and letterheads became public this week.

Community activists are pushing for a community conversation about the Market House image.

"I think it's a hurtful thing to a number of African-Americans in our community," said Troy Williams, a long-time community activist in Fayetteville. "There is an undercurrent. There are people that feel offended and hurt by the way the Market House is branded."

Fayetteville historian Bruce Daws said the Market House was built around 1832 in a town square where slaves were sometimes sold. There is a plaque on the Market House that pays tribute to the lives sold there.

At least two city council members have said they want the city to remove the Market House as a logo.

One of them, Chalmers McDougald, issued a statement saying, "... For many in Fayetteville, the Market House is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past."

McDougald and Fayetteville Lawyer Allen Rogers have said they would like to see the Market House taken off the city seal and letterhead as soon as possible.

However, another city council member, Mitch Colvin, said talk of changing the city's logo to a more modern symbol actually started during budget meetings last month.

"We were talking about our new plans for economic improvements, and as a part of that we needed to do some rebranding of our image," said Colvin. "We allocated some funds to make sure we were committed to doing, to follow through, and January 1 we were going to start looking at some new samples, and examples."

Colvin said he understands and respects the historical significance of the Market House, but said he and other city leaders would like to see a new logo that reflects Fayetteville's future, not its past.

"What we are today is a thriving 200,000 plus metropolitan area that is a melting pot from people all over the world," said Colvin. "It's a wonderful community. We just need to get the word out."

In a statement, Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson said Fayetteville should "... continue to celebrate our diversity. We are not Baltimore, or Charleston. We are Fayetteville, the best, most diverse and unique city in the Southeast."

Colvin said Fayetteville's new logo should reflect the community's diversity, and its link to Fort Bragg and the military.

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