This opinion is special to the Mirror by Bill Payne of Cape Charles.
I am delighted the Northampton County Board of Supervisors have taken up the question regarding the Old Courthouse Green Confederate Monument. After conducting a public hearing on October 13, 2020, the Supervisors discussed the substance of the controversy at their November 10, 2020 regular meeting.
The Board was collectively hesitant in their assessment of the issue and frankly raised more unanswered questions than possible resolutions. Their reluctance to suggest one or more potential remedies is understandable – this is a “hot potato”.
Supervisor Bennett suggested to his colleagues that they must hear more from our citizens, but lamented the community is largely uncomfortable presenting their opinions. The fact is there probably are as many solutions out there as there are community alliances.
It was encouraging to hear Supervisor Dixon express, “I think we have an opportunity to be different”, and then add, “We can’t do nothing.” But still the discussion largely centered around calls for further study and the need to “wait and see”.
Some have urged the Board to convene a facilitated group of citizens who would propose a nonbinding resolution. However, at the end of the day, it is unlikely our leaders will be presented with an answer that will please everyone. Therefore, I conclude it’s time for our Board of Supervisors to demonstrate leadership and deliberately act.
If the State of Mississippi’s leadership can navigate politically troubled waters and embrace a 21st century state flag absent the stigma of the “Stars and Bars”, Northampton County’s managers can certainly realize the fulfillment of all that is right and fair for our community.
I urge our Supervisors to give this daunting task high priority until every Northampton County citizen can pridefully walk the Old Courthouse Green free of its symbolic reminder of social injustice and inequity.