NC Historical Commission votes not to move Confederate statues from Capitol grounds

NC Historical Commission votes not to move Confederate statues from Capitol grounds

RALEIGH, N.C. — The full North Carolina Historical Commission has accepted the committee's recommendations, voting not to move Confederate statues, but to contextualize them instead.

The committee was studying whether three Confederate monuments could be removed from the Capitol grounds in Raleigh. It made its recommendations to the state historical commission Wednesday morning.

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"I'm sick of the Confederacy,” Gabrielle Middlebrooks said during the meeting. “I'm sick of white supremacy."

She was dragged out by police after she shouted out that commissioners would become just like the people who erected the monuments if they didn't take them down.

"We have no problems with more markers going up,” monument supporter Frank Powell said. “I will probably have a problem with who writes any type of conceptual about it, because I'm afraid they may be prejudice."

Gov. Roy Cooper had asked the commission to move the monuments to the Bentonville Battlefield state historic site. But, in order to do that, the state says the move must be necessary to preserve them.

On Wednesday, the committee said the over-representation of Confederate monuments is indefensible, but leaders can't violate the 2015 law and remove them.

Instead, committee members recommended adding signs to accurately describe history. They also want a new monument for African Americans built immediately.

There are eight Confederate monuments in the Charlotte area.

Committee Chairman David Ruffin said those should get signs too..

"There needs to be a groundswell of, ‘This is what needs to happen,’" Ruffin said.

The head of the NAACP doesn't believe the compromise goes far enough. Rev. T. Anthony Spearman thinks there could be more protests.

"Sometimes folks, when they get frustrated and upset, there are going to be repercussions," Spearman said.


Meanwhile, a Salisbury grassroots organization is calling on the City Council to relocate the Fame Confederate monument in downtown Salisbury.

"City Council should pass a resolution demanding that the North Carolina General Assembly return Confederate monuments to local control," Emily Ford, with Salisbury Indivisible, said to city leaders Tuesday night at the council meeting.

“Fame and other Confederate monuments have become targets of vandals, rallying points for white nationalists, " Ford said. "Taking action to relocate Fame will demonstrate that Salisbury is a forward-looking city invested in diversity and respecting the sensibility of all its residents."

The organization spoke out just hours after the Silent Sam Confederate monument was torn down by protesters at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Fame was vandalized with white paint over the weekend and Channel 9 was there as residents passed by and came to clean it up.

"Wow, when did it happen? Why did it happen? Who would do such a thing?" one resident asked.

"Don't use this (as) an opportunity to start violence," another resident said.

At Tuesday's council meeting, the mayor told Channel 9 she's listening to the community’s concerns.

"We can't take what these monuments mean for granted. We know that there are strong constituencies on both sides,” Mayor Al Heggins said. "As a community, we're really going to have to engage in some collaborative problem-solving."

Heggins said to move forward, they have to collect all information and documents on who owns the property and statue and reach out to them.

City leaders said there is a deed that says the Daughters of the Confederacy owns the property.

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