GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – In recent years, the naming of monuments, roads, and bridges has been under scrutiny with many memorializing former racist and confederate leaders in our community. A bridge on the border of Mecklenburg and Gaston County could fall under that category.
The Catawba River bridge along I-85 is named after former North Carolina Governor Cameron Morrison.
In office from 1921-1925, Morrison is remembered for leading the “Red Shirts,” a group of white supremacists that intimidated black voters.
People familiar with the governor and other memorialized bridges and monuments have mixed feelings about renaming the bridge.
“No, it’s part of history. There’s no need in trying to change history. If we knocked down anything that ever had to do with slavery it wouldn’t change the fact that it exists,” one person told FOX 46. Others think it should stay.
“Out of all respect, it should be something neutral, just Charlotte Bridge if nothing else.”
Former Governor Morrison has been memorialized at other institutions around North Carolina. A branch of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library and two buildings at North Carolina A&T were renamed within the last year. Some think it’s important to remember our past.
“Then there’s nothing to teach our children and their children what we’ve grown from and what the future is going to hold.”
NCDOT said there has not been a petition to change the name of the bridge. If there is one presented, the application would take several steps to be considered.