Up & Coming Weekly

March 15, 2022

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 5 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM MARCH 16 - 22, 2022 UCW 5 e Market House in downtown Fayetteville has been a focus of local dissension long before any of us reading this column drew breath, and sometimes the buzz has been louder than at other times. Since the 2020 unrest following the murder of Fayetteville native George Floyd in Minneapolis, the buzz has accelerated to the point that an arsonist tried to set the building afire. However, he managed to burn only his clothes. Calls to demolish the Market House reached Fayetteville City Council and resulted in the Council decid- ing to "repurpose" the building, but it is unclear what that means at this point. e Market House was constructed following the great fire of 1831, which consumed its predecessor, the State House, where North Carolina ratified the US Con- stitution and chartered the nation's first public university, the University of North Carolina. It was what its name implies for most of its existence, a community market for local goods and produce with town hall facilities on the upper floor. In more recent years, the market function fell away, and the second story has been used as a library, an art museum, a history museum and offices for various organizations. Over time, it became an official symbol of the city of Fayetteville, a logo of sorts. It is one of 40 National Historic Landmarks in North Carolina and the only one in Cumberland County. It is also a place where enslaved human beings were sold as chattel. Stop for a moment. Let that historical reality sink in. It is also a place where enslaved human beings were sold as chattel. In downtown Fayetteville in an open arcaded building, a place near which many residents now enjoy an outdoor meal, a visit to nearby parks, attend church or take in a movie at an art-house theater, human beings were sold to the highest bidder. Families were likely parted, perhaps for eternity. A plaque to honor and in memory of those enslaved people was authorized by Fayetteville City Council in 1989 now resides permanently on the ground level of the Market House. It acknowledges the building's excruciating history but can do nothing to change it. So the question looms on and large. What is the fate of the Market House in the 21st century? Presumably, the Council's decision to repurpose the building means it will not be demolished. Still, calls for its destruction continue, and as with any elected body re- sponsive to public sentiment, that decision can be changed. It should not be. Tearing down a building because atroci- ties occurred there does not erase them. It may even make such acts more difficult to remember if the place where they hap- pened exists only in memory. is is why Germany retained its hor- rendous concentration camps — so people will never forget what happened in them. at said, what should the Market House be? Should it stand in place or be moved, if that is even possible? How should it be used, if used at all? ese are the complex and emotional questions facing Fayetteville's City Council. I do not envy its members this decision, but the timing has landed it squarely in their laps. Americans from coast to coast and elsewhere are grappling with our nation's history of and, sadly, continuing racism. Millions of individuals and thousands of communities are struggling with our col- lective pasts and painful presents. We are looking into personal and national mirrors and must reckon with what we see. Whatever the fate of the nearly 200-year- old Market House is to be, it should be decided now. As difficult as this decision will be, Fayetteville City Council must not be allowed, as politicians say, to "kick this can down the road." e decision is this Council's, and the time is now. OPINION The Market House: Past and future by MARGARET DICKSON MARGARET DICKSON, Columnist. COMMENTS? Editor@ upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. File photo. MARCH 24 - APRIL 10 BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW! CFRT.ORG or 910.323.4233 It's a dark and stormy night, and the host of a dinner party has turned up dead in his own mansion. Inspired by the board game and film, join Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and other colorful guests for this hilarious murder mystery. As the guests race to find the killer, audiences will be in stitches to try and figure out WHO did it, WHERE, and with WHAT! Based on the best-selling board game and movie adaptation! Inspiring, educating, empowering and celebrating women in our community

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