Yes, I am for keeping the Market House as our logo and on our city seal. It distinguishes our city as unique and should be retained, not only for historic and tradition’s sake, but, from the point of view that replacing it isn’t fiscally responsible. It will literally cost Fayetteville residents tens of thousands of dollars to physically change the logo – money that could be better spent serving Fayetteville residents by improving our gateways, lowering taxes and fees and moving this community forward in dozens of positive ways.
I hope our elected officials will respect the taxpayers, allow cooler heads to prevail and objectively examine what the Market House really means to this community in terms of defining our brand. Branding in the business and marketing world means: who you are, what you are and what you stand for. Since 1993, the year the image was adopted, the Market House has developed into a valuable branding tool. After 23 years, its worth is now hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yes, it has true value. Successful businesses, corporations and institutions know the value of such branded icons and they are vigilant to insure and protect them. Think Apple, Coca-Cola and Chevrolet.
Like it or not, the Market House is the symbol that reflects our brand. It reflects 180 plus years of objective history, achievements and accomplishments and Fayetteville’s unique southern personality. It stands for the traditions that define our community. All of these aspects far outweigh the negative conjecture and agenda pushed to the forefr
ont by a few local self-serving organizations and individuals (i.e. Attorney Allen Rogers, NAACP, ACLU) who want to selfishly capitalize and profit from instigating a needless controversy by cultivating conflicts through political correctness and selfish self-serving intentions. This should be noted for what it is and not be tolerated or allowed to blemish our name or abolish this stellar icon. Besides, this action is already too late to be meaningful. The Market House has already forged itself as the city’s icon and symbol of Fayetteville’s heritage. Ignoring this fact by trying to make it go away will only make us look silly.
Instead, we should be proud! Be proud that we have such a distinguished heritage. Be proud that we have embraced our history and are thankful for the progress we have made. Be proud it was here in Fayetteville where North Carolina ratified the United States Constitution. Be proud that it was at the Market House where we chartered the University of North Carolina. Be proud that it was here North Carolina ceded its western territory to create the state of Tennessee. Be proud that it’s the only national landmark in Cumberland County. And, when it comes to local government, we should be proud that our leadership has a history of African-American inclusiveness: Mable Smith, Ida Ross, Joe Pillow, Aaron Johnson, Charles Evans, Mitch Colvin, Kady Ann Davy, Larry Wright, Bill Crisp and Chalmers McDougald just to name a few.
Finally, I hope the notion of substituting the Market House with any generic symbols like the American flag, plants, animals, trees (dogwoods) or statues of anything or anyone, goes away quickly. This includes our namesake, the Marquis de Lafayette. As much as I admire this Frenchmen as an American Revolutionary War general, the fact is, he only visited Fayetteville once and with the exception of our sister city St. Avold, we certainly have no ties or allegiance to France.
So, it is my hope that the members of the Fayetteville City Council spend time intelligently thinking this issue through. Think about the expense. Think about the fiscal responsibility. Think about the fact that no individuals should be able to hijack our heritage through intimidation and political correctness for personal gain or just because they can. We are so much better than that.
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