RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A statue of a well-known North Carolina racist that was placed in downtown Raleigh’s Nash Square in 1984 was removed Tuesday morning after more than 35 years.
Josephus Daniels played a leading role in creating The News & Observer but was also known as a racist and white supremacist, according to a statement from the Daniels family.
In the fall of 1984, the Daniels family commissioned a statue and placed it in Nash Square across from the former News & Observer building “to acknowledge his role in creating” the newspaper, according to the statement.
Daniels wrote in a Raleigh News and Observer editorial on Jan. 28, 1900, that “The greatest folly and crime in our national history was the establishment of [N]egro suffrage immediately after the [Civil] War. Not a single good thing has come of it, but only evil,” according to an excerpt from an article that appeared in a 1999 issue of American Journalism.
Daniels was also one of the leading perpetrators behind the 1898 Wilmington massacre.
The family recently decided to remove the statue and crews took it down this morning. The statue will be placed in storage for the time being.
A small crew of men removed the statue from its posts this morning and loaded it on to the back of a truck.
Daniels’ great-grandson, Frank Daniels III, came in from Nashville, Tennessee, to see the statue removed and said the time was right to remove it from public property.
He said his family didn’t want Daniels to be a symbol of racism.
Every individual is remembered in the ways that’s interpreted by your context. Our context of Josephus is colored by how well we knew him. We all have feet of clay. We all have things that we’ve done that are regrettable. The thing that we regret about his past is something that becomes increasingly indefensible as we look at what is happening in America and across the world. So we don’t want to have a symbol of that as a part of our legacy in our service to North Carolina.”Frank Daniels III
A statement from the former publisher of The News & Observer Frank A. Daniels, Jr., on behalf of the Daniels family, can be read in full below:
In the fall of 1984, the Daniels family commissioned and placed a statue of Josephus Daniels in a public park across the street from The News & Observer to acknowledge his role in creating one of the nation’s leading newspapers.
This morning we removed the statue from Nash Square. We have placed it in storage until we can find a suitable location on private property.
Josephus Daniels’ legacy of service to North Carolina and our country does not transcend his reprehensible stance on race and his active support of racist activities.
In the 75 years since his death, The N&O and our family have been a progressive voice for equality for all North Carolinians, and we recognize this statue undermines those efforts.”Frank A. Daniels, Jr.
The family told CBS 17 they had been talking about removing the statue for the last five years, but “the protests [brought] home the need to remove it sooner than later.”
The family owns the statue and the land on which it sat is public property. The family said they came to an agreement with the City of Raleigh to remove it and gain access to the property to do so.
An agreement was signed with the city Monday and went through the city attorney and the Raleigh Parks Department.
An online petition that was started before the statue was removed calls for Wake County leaders to change the name of Daniels Magnet Middle School in Raleigh.
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