The time has come for the Freedom Monument Project to move forward.
UNC art professors Juan Logan and Lyneise Williams, along with landscape architect David Swanson, have designed a series of sculptural vignettes to be located near the state capital in Raleigh.
This “Freedom Grove” would recognize past injustice and symbolize the incredible strides made in the elusive quest for equality.
The African-American experience in North Carolina is an integral part of the state’s history.
It is a history from which slavery, Jim Crow and a profound struggle for civil equality cannot be extricated.
The monument would serve as an enduring reminder of history, as well as a reminder of the continuing struggle to fully realize equality of liberty.
A $450,000 state appropriation for the monument was frozen along with all other capital appropriations in an effort to balance the budget.
The irregular intervals between meetings of the Capital Planning Commission — which must approve the project — have also served to stall progress.
The commission is supposed to meet quarterly but until recently had not met for an astonishing five years.
But this monument has been too long coming already. As the project continues to raise money, the state should take the steps that it can to help make this monument a reality.
The Capital Planning Commission can help move the project forward. And Gov. Bev Perdue should demonstrate her commitment to the project by unfreezing the appropriation in the next budget.
North Carolina is a state with a rich history — much of which is intertwined with slavery and racial inequality.
Past injustice is more comfortably ignored, which is why it is so important to support a monument that memorializes a struggle that has shaped the history of this state and nation.
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