Confederate Memorial Rally Draws 1,500

Isaac Groves, Times-News, July 18, 2015

A crowd estimated at 1,500 rallied around the Confederate monument at the Alamance County Historic Courthouse Saturday afternoon through 90-degree heat and a passing thunderstorm.

Court Square was thick with Confederate battle flags, and a few Confederate uniforms were among the shorts, blue jeans and T-shirts, many with the same flag. Speakers talked about the monument they came to support, Civil War history, the Confederate flag and the state of the country.

“That monument stands for everybody who died for this county, for this state and for Southern rights,” rally organizer Gary Williamson told the crowd, saying it would come down “over my dead body.”

The petition to keep the monument to Confederate veterans in front of the court house, Williamson said, had gotten more than 6,500 signatures both online and in person. Volunteers with clipboards were circulating through the crowd adding more.

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Michael Trollinger, mayor pro tem of Green Level, said the memorial honored veterans of the United States, and white Southerners had as much right to their heritage as he did as a black man.

“I know my ancestry, but I am free–I am free from being a slave to my past,” Trollinger said.

While the vast majority of the crowd was white, there were a few people of color there to support the monument or just out of curiosity.

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The crowd dispersed before the permit expired at 2 p.m. without any notable incidents and hardly even any litter. One woman even collected cigarette butts from the ground in an empty Styrofoam cup as people left.

“It was a great day. They should be proud of themselves,” McGilvray said as the crowd dispersed. “I’m pleased with all aspects this event–the professionalism of law enforcement, the demeanor of the crowd–I could not have asked for a better day.”

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