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Daughters of Confederacy vow to fight following order to remove statue

For the past few weeks the Confederate statue outside the old Forsyth County Courthouse has been the topic of discussion across the state after “Cowards & Traitors” was written on the statue at Christmas.­

Daughters of Confederacy vow to fight following order to remove statue
January 10
08:58 2019

For over a week now the corner of Fourth and Liberty Streets has been the topic of discussions across the state following the vandalization of a Confederate statue outside the old Forsyth County Courthouse and the city’s decision to allow the owners of the statue until the end of the month to have it removed from the corner downtown.

Although the clock to have the monument removed is set at less than 30 days, it seems as if the feud between the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the City of Winston Salem is just getting started.

Here’s what we know; the series of events began on Christmas day. Just before 6 p.m. officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) responded to a call that the monument had been defaced. Upon arrival, officers found the words “Cowards & Traitors” written in permanent marker.

In response to the most recent case defacing, on the last day of 2018, City Attorney Angela Carmon issued a letter demanding that the statue erected in 1905 be removed by Jan. 31 or face legal action from the city. The city also offered to move the statue to Salem Cemetery where more than 30 Confederate graves are located, but the Daughters of the Confederacy declined.

During the city’s annual Emancipation Proclamation ceremony, Mayor Allen Joines said, in its current place downtown, the statue is creating a public nuisance. Over the years the statue has been at the center of controversy several times. In August of 2017, shortly after white supremacist marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, two sides of the statue were painted and the motto on the statue, “Our Confederate Dead” was covered. Less than 24-hours after that, men armed with shotguns and rifles spent hours protecting the statue from other vandals.

One of the men protecting the statue who didn’t want to give his full name said they were just trying to protect a piece of history. He said, “We just don’t see the point in taking these statues down. That’s our stance: preserving history no matter good or bad. That’s how you learn from it.”

In the letter issued by Attorney Carmon, she explains the removal of the statue is about public safety. She also mentioned incidents in Charlottesville, Durham and Chapel Hill over Confederate monuments that led to civil unrest.

She wrote, “…vandals defaced the Confederate statue with the inflammatory words “Cowards & Traitors” thereby invoking significant concern about the safety of the statue and the potential for confrontation, breaches of the peace and other nuisance type conduct similar to that endured by other cities.

“It is clear that the tenor of the vandal’s message has escalated and the intensity of the same is not likely to wane with the passage of time. The city is not in a position to provide constant security checks necessary for the protection of the statue and to mitigate the recurring acts of vandalism.”

In a statement released on Thursday, Jan. 4, the North Carolina Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy say they plan to do everything in their power to make sure the statue stays put.

The statement reads, “The North Carolina Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, wished to register our dismay at recent actions and statements of the city Winston-Salem regarding the Confederate memorial on the old courthouse grounds. The heavy-handed tactics of the city and its threat of legal action against us are as shocking as they are dishonorable. When so many real problems are facing Winston-Salem and its citizens, city officials would rather engage in a cheap political stunt and distraction.

“We wish for the memorial to remain in its place, where is has stood since it was dedicated in 1905, and will do everything in our power to see that it continues to remain.”

On Sunday, January 13 a group called the Heirs of the Confederacy plans to meet on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill where the Silent Sam statue stood before it was toppled last year before traveling to Winston-Salem and meeting again at the statue downtown.

In response to the Heirs of the Confederacy, a group of locals plans to gather at the statue on the same day.

At the time of publication the event on Facebook had 100 people confirm that they plan to attend the rally dubbed “Get Hate Out of Winston-Salem.”

A post on the event page reads, “hate has no place in Winston-Salem. Glorifying racists and white supremacists has no place here.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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