MONROE — Union County is refusing to approve plans for a marker to commemorate slaves who served in the Confederate Army, raising questions of how to appropriately honor men virtually ignored by history.
On the eve of the Civil War's 150th anniversary, amateur historian Tony Way led the push for a granite marker to be placed at the Old County Courthouse in Monroe next to a 1910 Confederate monument. The new marker would be for 10 black men, nine of whom were slaves, who served the Confederacy during the war and eventually got state pensions.
It would probably be one of a few public markers of its kind in the country, experts say.
Way, a Sons of Confederate Veterans member from Monroe, says he and some friends sought to highlight a little-known facet of county history and make commemorations more inclusive.
But county officials recently recommended the marker not go on the 1886 courthouse grounds, saying it would be inconsistent with other monuments. The existing Confederate monument cites regiments, not individuals. Other war monuments on the grounds name only those who died.
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