Confederate statue ‘Fame’ removed from downtown Salisbury

SALISBURY, N.C. — After more than 100 years, the Confederate statue known as “Fame” has been removed from downtown Salisbury.

Channel 9 was there Monday night into Tuesday morning, and where you would normally see the statue of an angel carrying a Confederate soldier, was just a patch of land after the statue and its base were removed.

The city decided to remove the statue late Monday night. For years, the city said it couldn’t remove it because the land has been owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy since 1908.

In June, the city and the United Daughters of Confederacy agreed to move the statue to a cemetery. It will be moved to the Old Lutheran Cemetery on North Lee Street where named and unknown Confederate soldiers are said to be buried.

City leaders said they worked with the UDC to figure out the best plan for the statue after the police chief said it was a threat to public safety. There have been numerous protests and demonstrations in recent years calling for the statue’s removal.

It has caused quite the controversy, with some in the community arguing it represented a history of slavery and oppression while others viewed it as a piece of art and a part of history.

“Sometimes, it takes a catalytic event to make it happen. I’m sorry we had to do it because of fear of danger and safety issues. But you know, that is not a good reason to move it. A good reason to move it is because it’s wrong,” Councilman David Post said.

In 2017, a group of more than 4,000 people came to Salisbury asking for it to be moved and called it a source of pain.

Then in August 2018, people vandalized the statue by splashing paint on it. It happened again in March of last year.

Edward Novell said his family helped place the statue in downtown Salisbury decades ago.

“My great aunt is one of the ladies who raised the money and erected the monument,” he said.

He told Channel 9 that his aunt was married to a confederate soldier and the monument was about honoring those who fought and died.

“It really is a beautiful work of art, but the message that it sends is not for our time,” Norvell said.

On Tuesday, city leaders told Channel 9 they paid about $21,000 to have the statue removed. It is currently in storage before it eventually ends up in the cemetery.

Anson, Gaston Confederate monuments next?

Tuesday night, people in Anson County are expected to have a meeting about a Confederate monument in town. The Confederate Soldiers monument is in front of the county courthouse and was dedicated in 1906.

The statue is on the agenda for the county commissioners meeting Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at the Government Center at Wadesboro.

Leaders in Gastonia will also talk Tuesday about a Confederate monument there. It will be the first meeting of the 13 person “Council of Understanding.”

The monument at the Gaston County Courthouse has been the subject of projects over the past several weeks.

Tuesday’s meeting starts at noon and it will stream on the county’s website.