DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – On Monday, a committee sent a letter to city and county leaders in Durham asking for the removal of the Confederate statue base that sits in front of the old courthouse building on Main Street.
The Confederate statue that used to stand at 200 East Main St. in downtown Durham was toppled over by protesters in August 2017. The base of the statue still sits in front of the public building.
The City-County Committee on Confederate Monuments and Memorials (D4CMM) said in the letter that Confederate monuments and memorials “underscore oppression, not equity or justice.”
In the letter, they ask leaders to “move forward swiftly and remove the base.” The letter went on to say that memorials like this one in Durham “continue to cause harm and are a threat to public safety.”
The committee is asking the base be placed in storage until leaders decide where it should be taken.
Wendy Jacobs, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners, said she is in favor of the removal of the base. She said county commissioners will be discussing the matter at Monday night’s meeting.
“The base has no place sitting in prominence in front of a public building on public property,” Jacobs said. “It’s not an appropriate location for those people who consider it a memorial.”
Angelique Stallings, civic chair with the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, said she agrees that removing the base is the right thing to do.
“It is a symbol of hurt, hate, and anger that affects the people in this country,” Stallings said. “It is still a reminder of the oppression, the systematic racism, and the racial bias that is still happening in this country today.”
However, Frank Powell with the Sons of Confederate Veterans argued that the base should stay where it is.
“It is not really a statue or monument. It’s a memorial,” Powell said. “It’s a memorial to people who have died, people who were called up by their state to march off to war and to defend their state. Many of them didn’t come back. These memorials are their only gravestones.”
Jacobs said county commissioners would discuss the possible removal of the base at Monday night’s virtual meeting. Jacobs said if the county decided to remove the base, there is no word on when that removal would take place.
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