NAACP president sharply critical of all-white city council’s decision not to rename park for black Reconstruction figure Wyatt Outlaw

Black Lives Matter protesters frequently gathered at Sesquicentennial Park, across from the Confederate Monument and Historic Court House in Graham, during the summer of 2020 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Alamance NAACP statement from president Barrett Brown on Graham city council discussion on park renaming:

“It’s very disappointing that the Graham City Council seems prepared to decline to operate in good faith with traditionally marginalized members of this community.

Alamance County NAACP president Barrett Brown

“By ignoring overwhelming public support (roughly 90% in support of renaming the park during public comment), in favor of their own anecdotal information; they undermine confidence in their own decision making process. The city of Graham has enforced unconstitutional statutes on gathering in the court square, enforced martial law to protect the Confederate monument, pepper sprayed peaceful protestors and now would refuse to offer symbolically an olive branch to promote the healing of nearly two centuries of the unjust treatment of African Americans.

“They seem more willing to dig in their heels in order to preserve a narrative of privilege and the status quo. Their argument against the renaming of the park presumes that the people who donated to the park would object. What of the numerous black, brown and white people of conscience who object every day to their tax money being spent to maintain and defend the Confederate Monument?

“The hypocrisy and lack of empathy of the all white citizen’s council in Graham is astonishing. We can only hope that their example will moblize [sic] unprecedented voter registration, education and participation. It is clear that we need elected officials who embrace a future of inclusion instead of those committed to keeping us grounded in a time that justice forgot.”

See city council’s deliberations about changing the park’s name: