Chapel Hill officials make preparations ahead of weekend demonstrations

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Friday night, Chapel Hill officials laid out cones and “no parking” signs preparing for a pair of weekend rallies. 

According to town officials, the rallies are scheduled to take place Saturday afternoon on town and University of North Carolina property.  

The group, Take Action Chapel Hill, posted on Facebook an event titled “Racists out of UNC: Rally & Re-contextualization. 

UNC student Calvin Deutschbein said he plans on taking part in the event. 

“I’m hoping to hang out with some friends and have some honest history,” Deutschbein said. 

This all comes after Deuetschbein said he and others put up a plaque near the intersection of Franklin Street and Henderson Street, next to the Jefferson Davis Highway Memorial Marker. 

Friday, town officials removed the marker and plaque. They said both were removed based on a recommendation by town public safety officials that they were a public nuisance and created a public safety threat. 

“We really are concerned about public safety, and people’s right to put plaques and do things doesn’t come at the expense of public safety,” Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said. 

“I think we need to think about where we are as a country if we cannot have objects honoring black lives in public spaces, without being a cause for public safety, and I think we need to think about what we need to do to change that,” Deutschbein said. 

According to Deutschbein, the student-designed plaque centered around a woman referenced by Julian Carr in a speech at the dedication of Silent Sam in 1913. 

“The woman mentioned in Julian Carr’s speech is continuing the great tradition of resistance to racism in the American South, and that’s an important story that should be remembered,” Deutschbein said. “I think re-contextualizing is what the plaques memorializing black lives has been doing.”

For Deutschbein, he said they’ll continue their project while speaking out this weekend. 

“Just to have a loud voice. Just to be present, and that’s what I’m hoping to do tomorrow,” he said. 

Chapel Hill town officials said Henderson Street will be closed between East Rosemary and East Franklin streets. Parking won’t be allowed within that closure, as well as in select spaces along eastbound Franklin Street. 

Town officials added that any vehicle parked in the restricted areas after 8 a.m. on Saturday will be towed at the owner’s expense.

According to their Facebook event, Take Action Chapel Hill’s rally is set to start at noon.

In their Facebook event’s description, organizers said their event is a counter-demonstration to a rally to be held by the groups Actbac and Heirs to the Confederacy. 

CBS 17 reached out to Actbac for comment regarding Saturday but has not heard back. 

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