N.C. Historical Commission and N.C. African American Heritage Commission Hold Historic Joint Meeting on State Capitol African American Monument

N.C. Historical Commission and the N.C. African American Heritage Commission

Yesterday, at a historic first joint meeting at the North Carolina State Capitol, the N.C. Historical Commission and the N.C. African American Heritage Commission accepted a draft report summarizing the comments received at eight public hearings held to gather input on plans for a new monument on the State Capitol grounds in Raleigh dedicated to commemorating the achievements of African Americans.

Last February, Governor Pat McCrory announced the set of public hearings to plan the new monument. "I can't think of a more appropriate way to recognize the contributions of African Americans to North Carolina's history than a monument at the State Capitol," he said at the time.

Over the course of eight Tuesday evenings in March, April and May, the public responded to the call at programs in Greensboro, Charlotte, Rocky Mount, Fayetteville, Winston-Salem, Asheville, Wilmington and Raleigh. The comments received were gathered into a document, available online, that both commissions will use to inform the final direction of the monument's design.
During yesterday's meeting, the commissioners also voted to approve the recommended materials for the monument - granite and bronze, the traditional materials used in all monuments on Capitol grounds - and the monument's proposed location at the southeast corner of the square. Both commissions also unanimously agreed that the monument should reflect multiple narratives of the African American community, rather than focusing on a single individual

"I am so excited to be here on this very historic day, in this very historic place," said Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz in her welcoming remarks. "I attended all of the public hearings and was able to witness the passion, the emotion, and the gratitude that this was happening and that this was happening now. I want  to thank Governor McCrory for supporting this effort, and I especially want to thank all of the commissioners and our staff for your work on this important project."

In addition to approving materials and location for the monument, commissioners also gave their own comments about the project. Overwhelmingly, each commissioner that spoke expressed their gratitude for the thoughtful public input received, and their desire for a monument that is both "educational and inspirational," and that tells a comprehensive story of the African American experience in North Carolina.

The summary document will be used as the basis for a "Request for Qualifications" process wherein artists will be asked to submit resumes, portfolio materials, and references among other relevant information to the monument committee for selection of a slate of finalists.

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