Last May, Orange County Historical Museum leaders asked the town of Hillsborough—which owns the museum—to remove the words “Confederate Memorial” from the building’s portico. They felt the signage was discouraging people from entering the building, which is not a memorial to the Confederacy but rather a monument to the history of Orange County. But it used to be a whites-only public library called the Confederate Memorial Library, and some of the signage managed to hang on over the years.
When word got out, a bunch of angry white people banded together to take back Orange County
from those who would deprive them of their right to look at monuments to the South's racist past. Cindy Lee Talisman ran for the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners because she was so outraged about the removal of the letters. She lost, badly
, though not before giving us this gem
: "You can't change history. The Germans haven't put their horrific history behind closed doors." (Actually, as the INDY
's Billy Ball noted at the time, Germany does
ban the public display of all Nazi symbols.)
Anyway, the Confederates lost again. In July, the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners voted to remove the lettering. The town’s Historic District Commission approved the action in September. And yesterday, a contractor removed the letters from the building.
The town is putting together some interpretive signage to be installed outside the building, according to a release. It will include "information about the building, as well as other historic events on the property, including the North Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1788." Collecting and verifying that information, plus designing and manufacturing the signs, is expected to take between six and 12 months.
If you are worried about the old letters, fear not. They are being stored in a climate-controlled location. They will live on, just not in public.