Commission decides confederate statues to stay at N.C. state capital

Officials said the monuments will remain erected but will have explainers to go along with them, despite angry protests surrounding the issue

Confederate Statues
Demonstrators rally for the removal of a Confederate statue coined Silent Sam on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

Confederate monuments at the state capitol in North Carolina, which have been a bone of contention in the state, won’t be torn down but instead given more context, a commission decided in a new vote today, The New York Post reports.

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The revisionist approach will allow the Confederate statutes to remain at the state capitol in Raleigh, even though protestors have demanded they be removed and argue that the statues are painful reminders of slavery.

Earlier this week, the Confederate statue of “Silent Sam,” which was erected as an ode to alumni who died during the Civil War while fighting for the Confederacy, was knocked down by activists on the campus of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

In an answer to the protestors who are at odds with the statues, the Confederate Monuments Study Committee determined that signage will accompany the statues, which will add context and an additional statute will be now be included to honor African Americans.

This move is in sharp contrast to the request of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper who fought to have three of the controversial monuments be removed: the monument to the Confederate Dead of North Carolina, to Henry Lawson Wyatt who was the first Confederate soldier killed during the Civil War, and to the North Carolina Women of the Confederacy. Cooper asked the monuments be moved to a civil war battlefield but commission said it won’t happen because of a state law.

The commission argues that a 2015 state law prevents them from moving the monument and stated they are “unable to recommend the removal or relocation of the three Confederate monuments because removal or relocation is not required to preserve these three monuments.”

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However, state law does allow for the removal of the monument if its final resting place is of equal prominence.

But the commission doesn’t believe removal is necessary.

The 2015 law was created after the confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina state capitol and after the deadly shooting of nine Charleston church members.

Michele Walker, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, argued that the state statue makes it more difficult to get those moments moved to a new location.

“The commission’s decision essentially was that the 2015 law really does not give them the flexibility to move those monuments,” Walker said.

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