Pine Whispers

Confederate statue causes controversy

George Binkley, Staff Writer

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On January 13, 2019,  a large group of protesters gathered at the confederate statue on the corner of Fourth street and Liberty street in Winston-Salem to advocate for its removal, claiming it is a symbol of racism, hate and slavery. The group consisted of around 150 people, some of whom held signs saying things like “Hate Outta Winston” and “Take it Down.”

Soon after, a group of around 50 counter protesters showed up to demonstrate their approval of the statue, claiming it represented history and showed respect for fallen soldiers.

The statue, titled “Our Confederate Dead Memorial Statue,” was built in 1905 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, or UDC, and has been standing ever since. The statue depicts a confederate soldier, holding his musket.

Throughout history, statues have been used to memorialize individuals and the impact they may have had on their society,” city council member Annette Scippio said. “To be appreciated, one must know the historical context in which the people lived, worked and contributed.”

The city of Winston Salem believes that the statue should be taken down or relocated. The city thinks that the statue does “create a public nuisance” and says if the UDC fails to remove the statue, they are “prepared to file legal action,”.

Mayor Allen Joines wants the statue removed because he is afraid the statue will incite violence, as seen recently in Charlottesville with the Robert E. Lee statue and in Chapel Hill with the Silent Sam statue. Contrastingly, the UDC believes that removing the statue is unnecessary. They think that where it is now is fine and that it should stay that way.

“I think that the city will end up removing it due to all of the controversy that it has caused,” RJR sophomore Nick Lamkin said. “Some people probably don’t like what it stands for.”

On December 25, 2018, someone wrote “Cowards and Traitors” on the statue with black marker.  And on January 22, several people spoke at the city council to debate on removing the statue or not.

The city gave the UDC until February 1 to agree to move the statue, and on January 31, the Winston Salem Courthouse LLC gave the city permission to move the statue.  

I do not advocate for the display of any symbols of overt oppression , prejudice or hatred, on any public property unless they are within a historical museum or exhibit with educational context,” Scippio said. “The local statue would be very appropriate on a Civil Rights Battlefield, in a museum that shows the history of the Civil War, or in a graveyard where Confederate soldiers are buried.”

And that is what the city plans to do. They will move the statue to the Salem Cemetery. Mayor Allen Joines said on February 1 that the city plans to move the statue within two weeks from then.

Photo provided by Creative Commons

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Confederate statue causes controversy