NC Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ment or­dered to be re­moved

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY NOAH FEIT [email protected]­ Noah Feit: 803-771- 8435, @NoahFeit

An­other Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ment is on the verge of be­ing taken down.

A North Carolina city has writ­ten the own­ers of a statue of a Con­fed­er­ate soldier, say­ing it wants the mon­u­ment re­moved, and it wants it gone by the end of the month.

Ac­cord­ing to the let­ter writ­ten by City At­tor­ney An­gela Car­mon, Win­stonSalem wants the Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ment re­moved, in part, be­cause of the out­rage sur­round­ing sim­i­lar stat­ues in N.C. and across the na­tion, and the dan­ger that can fol­low.

“Con­fed­er­ate stat­ues ... have been at the cen­ter of con­fronta­tion and vi­o­lence for the past 16 months,” Car­mon wrote in her let­ter to the United Daugh­ters of the Con­fed­er­acy, a group the city at­tor­ney said claims to own the statue.

In the let­ter, Car­mon ref­er­enced the deadly protests that oc­curred in Char­lottesville, Va., and in­ci­dents that oc­curred on the cam­pus of the Univer­sity of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where the Silent Sam statue was top­pled. The city at­tor­ney also pointed out that the Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ment “in the heart of down­town” has been van­dal­ized twice.

Some­one de­faced the statue on Christ­mas by us­ing black marker to write “Cow­ards & Traitors,” ac­cord­ing to the Win­ston-Salem Jour­nal.

That van­dal­ism raised “sig­nif­i­cant con­cern about the safety of the statue and the po­ten­tial for con­fronta- tion ... sim­i­lar to that en­dured by other cities,” Car­mon wrote in the let­ter. “... Due to con­cerns for over­all pub­lic safety and pro­tec­tion of the statue, I hereby di­rect you to re­move and re­lo­cate by Jan­uary 31st the sub­ject Con­fed­er­ate Statue from its present lo­ca­tion to a more se­cure lo­ca­tion where the same can be pro­tected from van­dals and oth­ers look­ing to cre­ate a Char­lottesville type in­ci­dent in Win­ston-Salem.”

If the or­ga­ni­za­tion does not com­ply, the city may seek a “court or­der for the re­moval and re­lo­ca­tion of the sub­ject statue,” ac­cord­ing to the let­ter.

The or­der to move the statue has the sup­port of the mayor.

“We’ve seen many acts of vi­o­lence around the coun­try in terms of Char­lottesville, Chapel Hill, Durham and other places so we are try­ing to be proac­tive and to pre­vent vi­o­lence in our city,” Win­ston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said, WFMY re­ported.

Joines added an­other rea­son to re­move the statue.

“It is a sym­bol of op­pres­sion and the sub­ju­ga­tion of the African-Amer­i­can peo­ple and so it’s hurt­ful to many in our com­mu­nity,” Joines said, ac­cord­ing to WGHP.

Although the United Daugh­ters of the Con­fed­er­acy de­clined to com­ment on the statue in Win­ston-Salem, it has made pre­vi­ous pub­lic state­ments in de­fense of the mon­u­ments.

“These memo­rial stat­ues and mark­ers have been a part of the South­ern land­scape for decades,” the group’s pres­i­dent gen­eral wrote in 2017 in a mes­sage on its web­site where it de­nounced Con­fed­er­ate sym­bol­ism be­ing used for racial di­vi­sive­ness and white supremacy. “We are grieved that cer­tain hate groups have taken the Con­fed­er­ate flag and other sym­bols as their own.

“We are the de­scen­dants of Con­fed­er­ate sol­diers, sailors, and pa­tri­ots. Our mem­bers are the ones who have spent 123 years hon­or­ing their mem­ory by var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties in the fields of ed­u­ca­tion, his­tory and char­ity, pro­mot­ing pa­tri­o­tism and good cit­i­zen­ship. Our mem­bers are the ones who, like our stat­ues, have stayed qui­etly in the back­ground, never en­gag­ing in pub­lic con­tro­versy.”

Joines said there has been pre­vi­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the United Daugh­ters of the Con­fed­er­acy about mov­ing the statue erected in 1905, but the group did not want it placed in an area ceme­tery where the mayor says there are 36 Con­fed­er­ate graves, the Win­ston-Salem Jour­nal re­ported.

Now it might have no choice.

The mon­u­ment is pri­vately owned and lo­cated on pri­vate prop­erty, ac­cord­ing to Car­mon’s let­ter. Be­cause of that, Joines said it can be moved with­out vi­o­lat­ing a 2015 N.C. law “which pro­tects mon­u­ments on pub­lic grounds” from be­ing moved with­out the ap­proval of the Gen­eral Assem­bly, ac­cord­ing to WGHP.

“We’re try­ing to be nice, but in the heat of the night, peo­ple may come through like ninja war­riors and take that statue down,” city coun­cil mem­ber D.D. Adams said, per the Win­ston-Salem Jour­nal.

An Heirs to the Con­fed­er­acy Mon­u­ment Sup­port Rally is planned for Jan. 13, ac­cord­ing to a Face­book event page. The rally will be­gin at 9 a.m. at the Silent Sam mon­u­ment be­fore mov­ing to Win- ston-Salem, where par­tic­i­pants “will stand at the (mon­u­ment)“from 2-5 p.m.

BERNARD THOMAS (LEFT); JU­LIA WALL (RIGHT) The Her­ald-Sun (left); The News & Ob­server (right)

LEFT: Pock­marks pep­per the face of Con­fed­er­ate Gen. Robert E. Lee, who stands among other his­tor­i­cal fig­ures on the Duke Univer­sity cam­pus in Durham, N.C., in March 2017. RIGHT: Demon­stra­tors and spec­ta­tors gather around a top­pled Con­fed­er­ate statue known as Silent Sam in Au­gust 2018 at UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C.

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