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'Council of Understanding' Votes 7-5 to Relocate Confederate Statue to Alternative Location

GASTONIA, N.C. – After three meetings, the Council of Understanding voted on Monday 7 to 5 to relocate the Confederate monument outside the Gaston County Courthouse.

Moises Miranda joined the six members of the council who were originally in favor of the statue’s removal to vote in favor of recommending the statue’s relocation. Those members are Rev. Thomas Gillespie, Pastor Dickie Spargo, James Muhammad, Joe Will, Cheryl Comer and D’Andre Nixon.

The council’s recommendation will now be delivered to the Gaston County Board of Commissioners for their review and potential action by the Council of Understanding chairman, Commissioner Tom Keigher. Keigher was a non-voting member.

The Board of Commissioners meets next on July 28th.

Some of the members in the majority, following the vote, made recommendations to the Board of Commissioners to potentially donate the monument to a private organization, such as the statue’s original owner – the United Daughters of the Confederacy or the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The process evoked some heated discussion at times.

James Muhammad said the back and forth arguments about the questions of the history surrounding the statue didn’t resolve the hurt some members of the community still feel.

“This is not what brings our community together,” Muhammad said of the statue.

Council member Jim Stewart – one of the five who ultimately voted to keep the statue in place – recommended a course of action that included modifying the statue to make it representative of veterans of all wars, and removing the Confederate markers from the statue’s base.