Monument decision should be decided by referendum
To The Editor:
Recently there was a letter published in The (Farmville) Herald from an Allie Dudley about the removal of the Confederate Monument. She said the statue should definitely be moved. I Googled Allie Dudley and found she lives in Charlottesville.
I wonder if she wants Farmville to become another Charlottesville?
Before the riots over the statues, Charlottesville was on just about all the national lists of Top 10 places to live and Top 10 places to retire in America.
A recent online search of the respected U.S. News & World Report shows Charlottesville is no longer listed in their top 150 cities at all. Sorry Ms. Dudley, I don’t want to be like Charlottesville.
The two biggest needs in Farmville and Prince Edward County are quality schools and economic development. Tourism is one of the biggest things we have to draw dollars into the area. Well in excess of 100,000 people visited here last year and spent dollars at our restaurants, hotels and retail establishments. I called our tourist director (she won a state award last year for being the best tourist director in Virginia) and asked her what draws the most tourists to our area? She responded two things — the Civil War trails are the biggest draw followed by Green Front (Furniture). The Civil War trails include things like Sailor’s Creek Battlefield, High Bridge, several houses where Lee stayed and the monument to fallen soldiers on High Street.
You frequently see tourists having their picture taken at that monument and also at the “Love” sign in downtown Farmville. The monument glorifies no famous generals or presidents, and actually has no individual names at all. It is just a monument to the brave soldiers from this area who fought and died protecting their homes and families at the end of a bad war.
Carl Eggleston (a Black undertaker) and three local historians have assured me that both Black and white soldiers who fought side by side to protect their homes are honored by that monument. Mr. Eggleston says a lot of the Black soldiers are buried behind his establishment in the cemetery located there.
In today’s world of social media, one person can reach hundreds of people instantly to suggest they call a town council member and suggest the statue be moved to Cumberland, even an Allie Dudley who doesn’t live here.
The only fair way to handle this monument situation is to have a referendum and go by what the majority decides. It will eliminate most of the finger pointing and voting reprisals against elected officials and remove outsiders from the decision process.
(Editor’s note – Jim Wilck is a member of the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors.)