A group in Pittsboro has erected a Black Lives Matter billboard to counter a Confederate flag that stands along U.S. Highway 64.
Social justice activist Kerwin Pittman arranged for Emancipate NC and his recidivism reduction nonprofit – called RREPS – to be the legal entities to lease the space.
“Shoutouts To The Community Of Pittsboro That Came Together To Make This Happen,” Pittman, founder of Recidivism Reduction Educational Program Services, said in a Facebook post Monday announcing the new billboard.
Pittman told McClatchy News he worked with people in Pittsboro, a town about 34 miles west of Raleigh, to create the sign. A GoFundMe page created to raise money for the project said the billboard was a way to show Confederate flags “do NOT represent” Pittsboro. More than 240 donors contributed to the effort, which met a goal of raising $10,000.
“What I hope (for) individuals who are Black, when they ride into that town – who know that town, who stay in that town – that they see that they are supported by a broader movement and that their Black life does matter,” Pittman told WUNC.
That Moment When You View The BLM Billboard You Help Put Up Literally Next To Racist (Confederates) Hangout & Flag In Pittsboro,NC...Priceless...Shoutouts To The Community Of Pittsboro That Came Together To Make This Happen..RREPS..Emancipate NC..#FreedomFighters #RREPS pic.twitter.com/6VQcTkdjtE
— Kerwin Pittman (@KerwinPittman) July 13, 2020
Pittman said they have collected more than enough in donations to keep the 8-by-24-foot billboard up for a year.
Some Confederate flags and monuments honoring Confederate leaders have been removed across the South following nationwide protests against racism and police brutality after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minnesota. As of July 14, at least 16 Confederate monuments had been removed in North Carolina.
Crews also removed a Confederate statue that stood in front of the Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro last year following months of protests.