Signal Mountain manager requests removal of founder's monument over 'earned' racist reputation

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / A monument dedicated C.E. James, who founded the town of Signal Mountain in 1919, is seen in James Park on Wednesday in Signal Mountain. Signal Mountain Town Manager Boyd Veal recently suggested the monument be taken down and changing the park's name, after he discovered restrictions on tranfer of property deeds from James' Mountain Land Co. stating property could not be sold to "to a negro, mulatto, or person of color."

Signal Mountain Town Manager and former police chief Boyd Veal is asking that the town remove a monument of founder C.E. James and rename the park dedicated in James' honor. Veal made the request after discovering in deeds for property transfers from the Mountain Land Co., operated by James and his family members, that James planned the town as "a community set apart for residential purposes for the white race," according to the deeds.

"We've had this reputation [of racism] up here for as long as I've been alive," said Veal, a third-generation Signal Mountain resident. "It turns out [that reputation] was earned, and we need to do something to earn our way past it."

Veal said it is unclear exactly which property or properties within the town the deeds are for, but he came across them while researching town records and found several restrictions within them.