The city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, gave the United Daughters of the Confederacy an ultimatum to move a confederate monument from its current spot or have it declared a public nuisance and the city will bring legal action to force a movement.
In this article from a local news outlet, we learn, “The Winston-Salem Journal reports the city’s mayor, Allen Joines, announced at Tuesday’s Emancipation Proclamation ceremony that the United Daughters of the Confederacy could face legal action if the group doesn’t comply. State law makes it difficult to remove monuments on public property, but the Confederate Soldiers Monument is on private property. Last week, someone wrote ‘cowards & traitors’ on the statue’s base. It was previously vandalized after the 2017 deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Considering that and the confrontations over Confederate monuments elsewhere, the city attorney believes it creates a public nuisance.”
This article tells us, “Citing a growing concern over public safety, the city of Winston-Salem has directed the group that owns the statue of a Confederate soldier in downtown to remove it by Jan. 31 or face possible legal action, Mayor Allen Joines said Tuesday.” As the article says, “The United Daughters of the Confederacy claims ownership of the statue, which was dedicated in 1905. The group has previously declined a city offer to move the statue from its spot on the corner of West Fourth and North Liberty streets to a section of Salem Cemetery, 513 Cemetery St., that is home to 36 Confederate graves. ‘We feel that is an honorable and appropriate location,’ Joines said.” According to Mayor Joines, “We’ve already had two instances of vandalism and, with the potential for violence, it is ([City Attorney Angela]Carmon’s) belief that the statue does create a public nuisance and therefore we are directing the Daughters of the Confederacy to remove it, and if they don’t, we’re prepared to file legal action to achieve that removal.” In discussing the letter she sent to the UDC, City Attorney Carmon said, “Given the number of incidents involving vandalism, the intensity of the most recent message left by vandals and the concern for public safety, I asked that they look at removing the statue by the end of January. I indicated a concern about potential breaches to the peace and the strong likelihood that, given the intensity of the message, that breaches of peace are likely to occur.” According to Carmon, “the city is not in a position to provide around-the-clock security at the statue site.” The city is able to take this action because the land on which the monument stands is public property. The article says, “The property on which the statue stands is owned by Winston Courthouse LLC, which converted the old courthouse into apartments in 2012.” The city council appears to be behind the move. “Council Member D.D. Adams said at Tuesday’s ceremony that the statue will be removed from its current location. ‘We’re trying to be nice, but in the heat of the night, people may come through like ninja warriors and take that statue down,’ Adams said.”
As this article tells us, the UDC finally responded. “The North Carolina division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy says it pledges to do everything in their power to see that the Confederate monument in downtown Winston-Salem remains in its existing location near the old Forsyth County Courthouse.” We find out, “In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the chapter said, ‘The North Carolina Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, wishes to register our dismay at the recent actions and statements of the city of 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 it has stood since it was dedicated in 1905, and will do everything in our power to see that it continues to remain.’ ” The city has already asked the UDC to move the monument, and they’ve refused. “Mayor Joines says the city had already requested that the United Daughters of the Confederacy move the statue on two occasions, but the group ignored the city’s requests. ‘The daughters chose to ignore our very quiet request and what I thought were very legitimate offers. We’re not acting heavy handed. We’re working to protect the citizens of Winston-Salem from potential violence that’s occurred in other cities across the country. This particular situation has changed since 1905. It’s now seen as a symbol of oppression and subjugation of a people that hurt many of our citizens. On the other hand, we certainly understand the way some groups feel about it, it’s historical,’ said Mayor Joines. ‘We feel like relocating to the Salem Cemetery is the ideal situation. It’s a dignified location where this particular monument, which was erected in the honor of the Confederate dead would be right there where there are 36 Confederate graves.’ ”
With this article we learn, “The Rev. Alvin Carlisle, the president of the Winston-Salem chapter of the NAACP, said his group remains adamant that the Confederate statue should be removed. ‘We try to be patient,’ Carlisle said. ‘We have been in contact with the city for about a year to talk about the need for the removal of the statue. It is certainly a blatant symbol of racism that has no place in the public square. I thought the compromise to have it place in the cemetery was an idea that we could tolerate.’ Carlisle said his group is in talks with the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity over strategies to get the statue removed. In addition to finding it objectionable as a symbol, Carlisle said, the statue has become a public nuisance because of safety concerns. ‘The dead soldiers that it represents were racist traitors,’ Carlisle said. ‘In Germany, they have no statues of Hitler. We feel that these statues were erected to intimidate African-Americans. That was their sole purpose.’ We also find there’s a new confederate
wacko heritage group. “Meanwhile, a group calling itself Heirs to the Confederacy is already planning an event at the statue on Jan. 13, in support of keeping the statue in place. On its Facebook page, the group says it will meet first at the place in Chapel Hill where the ‘Silent Sam’ statue stood until it was torn down last August by protesters. After ‘paying homage to the boy soldiers,’ the group then plans to ride together to Winston-Salem to stand at the monument here from 2 to 5 p.m. Lance Spivey, the chairman of the board of the Heirs group, said it is a new organization formed as a way to unify groups supporting Confederate monuments. He said his group, which numbers some 30 members, is anti-racist while supporting keeping the statues in place. ‘These monuments are not there to remind anyone of slavery,’ Spivey said. ‘They are there to honor the courage of those men who fought … in one of the most terrible events in history. The monuments are so that we do not forget and it does not happen again.’ Spivey said his group plans to stand at the Winston-Salem monument and display Confederate flags, mostly the more-familiar stars and bars battle flag. The group does not carry firearms to events, he said. ‘We do not condone at all the initiating of any violence or the provoking of any violence,’ Spivey said. ‘But our standing rule is that if attacked, we defend ourselves with whatever force is necessary.’ ”
In an update, this article tells us the Winston-Salem portion of that planned rally was canceled at the request of the UDC. In addition to this article, it also tells us the city offered to pay to move the monument if the UDC agrees to moving it.
Here is a video giving a partial history of the monument, which was erected in 1905, shortly after the notorious Wilmington Riot of November,1898 [see here also] in which whites murdered at least 11 African Americans and burned out an African American-owned newspaper, while also conducting a coup d’etat in the city.
This is another case where the local government wants to move a monument, but people outside the city [the state UDC and the state law] are saying no. So outsiders are saying a local community has no right to determine who they will or will not honor, and are saying a private property owner has no right to determine what is on their privately owned property.