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Botetourt committee to make recommendation on Confederate monument

Botetourt committee to make recommendation on Confederate monument

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Fincastle Confederate monument

A county employee on June 9 cleans the paint that was splashed across a cannon and Confederate memorial in Fincastle.

DALEVILLE — Meetings of the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors have not been packed by residents arguing over the removal of Confederate monuments, as has happened recently in Franklin County and elsewhere.

Nonetheless, the Botetourt board agreed Tuesday that the issue shouldn’t simply go ignored. “I know this can be a delicate issue,” said Board Chairman Billy Martin.

Martin shared that he had asked Amsterdam District Supervisor Steve Clinton to organize a committee that will discuss the matter and bring recommendations to the board.

“I’m glad to do that,” Clinton said. “Botetourt is viewed as a leader and this board working together can demonstrate that again.”

Assembling the committee could take two to three months, and board members set no imperative to move quickly. The committee needs “to represent the organizations and the people that are out there,” said supervisors’ Vice Chairman Donald “Mac” Scothorn.

The revelation of Clinton’s task came during a presentation made to supervisors about new state laws regarding removal of Confederate monuments or other war memorials that took effect July 1.

The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech lists two monuments in the county, an obelisk outside Buchanan Presbyterian Church dedicated to the Botetourt Artillery, and another in Fincastle that stands in front of the Botetourt County Courthouse. The new state law applies only to memorials on public property, such as the one at the courthouse.

Early June 9, the courthouse obelisk was splashed with red paint. No one has been charged in connection with the vandalism. Sheriff Matt Ward said Tuesday that the investigation is ongoing. The courthouse monument memorializes the men who served the Confederacy in 12 volunteer companies formed in the county, and the county’s women who supported them during the war and in the “dark Reconstruction years” afterward. The monument was erected in 1904, two years after Virginia adopted a state constitution that effectively disenfranchised Black people.

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Mike Allen covers government happenings in Franklin County and Botetourt County for The Roanoke Times and also writes the weekly Arts & Extras column.

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