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‘Black Lives Matter’ Billboard Erected Next To Confederate Flag In Pittsboro

Image couresy of Kerwin Pittman

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.

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.

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Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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