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Racial reckoning in store for Halifax

South Boston News / August 10, 2020
Halifax County supervisors will meet tonight in Halifax to discuss what to do next with the Confederate soldier statue standing at the courthouse square.

A special call meeting of the board of supervisors will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the second floor meeting room of the Mary Bethune Complex in Halifax. The meeting is open to the public but the agenda does not say whether citizen comments will be permitted as part of the discussion.

According to board meeting by-laws, adopted earlier this year, “[n]o business shall be transacted at the [special] meeting except that which is stated in the notice.” On Wednesday, County Administrator Scott Simpson issued the public notice of Monday’s meeting, stating the sole purpose is “to discuss the Monument located on the Courthouse grounds and any potential actions related to its status.”

Special meetings can be called by the board chairman or by any two supervisors. Efforts to reach Board Chairman Hubert Pannell and other supervisors for comment were unsuccessful.

The special meeting comes after dozens of speakers addressed the fate of the statue at the regular Aug. 3 monthly meeting of the board. Supervisors listened impassively as speakers representing local community groups, backed by the majority of a sizable crowd at the Bethune gym, called for taking the statue down and relocating it to a more suitable setting.

Other speakers, some of them affiliated with the county Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter, urged supervisors to leave the statue intact at the courthouse. The statue was first unveiled in 1911, then replaced in 1937 after the original was destroyed in a storm.

Halifax Town Council braces for crowd calling for Dunavant's ouster

Halifax Town Council will meet for the first time this week since member Jack Dunavant wrote his newspaper letter to the editor that has many citizens calling for his removal from office.

The Council meeting is slated to begin Tuesday night, Aug. 11, starting with a committee work session at 6:30 p.m., followed by the regular monthly session at 7 o’clock.

In contrast to the usual lightly-attended meetings of Halifax Council, this month’s gathering is expected to draw a crowd. The meeting comes after hastily-organized protest on Aug. 2 that drew more than 100 people to the Halifax Farmers Market Square. The protest featured numerous calls for Dunavant’s removal from Town Council and condemnations of his letter, “Killing America,” published in both local papers, as racist.

In the letter, Dunavant blamed social net safety programs for the destruction of the Black family unit and recalled a childhood in which he was raised by “good colored people back in the day when children were born in wedlock and expected to behave like civilized human beings.”

Among those calling for Dunavant’s ouster are members of the newly-formed South Boston Halifax Unity Project, who helped organize the Aug. 2 protest at the farmers market. Unity Project members have indicated they will show up in force at the meeting Tuesday.

“I anticipate people will be coming in to speak to Council during the public comment period,” said Town Manager Carl Espy.

Michael Trent, a member of Town Council and husband of Unity Project co-founder Elizabeth Blair Trent, said Sunday that he expects to hear ample comment on the furor that Dunavant touched off with his letter.
“Tuesday night will give an opportunity to hear from the community in response to Jack’s letter to the editor. It will also give Council members a chance to share their opinions,” said Trent. “There hasn’t been enough time for Council to talk to see if there is a collective decision possible. Anything beyond that I don’t know.”

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Jack is right. That guy Trent where did he come from? Sounds like a yankee carpetbagger or a local turned scallywagg to me. Those people need to stop with the cancel culture etc. IT will destroy the country.


The thing that is so sad about Jack Dunavant is, he says he didn't
even know his letter to the editors was racist. He needs to go back and read it a little closer. Mr. Trent must be the villan because he takes the side of African-Americans. Be brave Mr. Trent, there are a lot of people out here that have your back.

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