‘People have thought about this’: Majority of North Carolinians want Confederate monuments to stay

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – In Durham, it came down by force by an angry group of protesters who wanted the Confederate monument removed.

At UNC-Chapel Hill, it was the same. Now no one knows what is to become of Silent Sam.

In Pittsboro, a vote by county commissioners called for a 117 year statue to be taken down. This came with protest from those who support the Confederate statue staying where it is.  

If you wonder whether people in North Carolina are paying attention, they are.

“In this case, very few people were indicating to us and our data that this was a low priority issue. People have thought about this and are going to continue to think about as more and more communities in North Carolina will take up this debate,” said Dr. Jason Husser, director of Elon University Poll.  

The most recent Elon Poll of more than 1,500 people found 65 percent of North Carolinians believe Confederate memorials should stay in place.  

A total of 91 percent of those who say that are Republican and 36 percent are Democrat.

“For someone like myself whose coming here for the first time it gives me something to see and helps explain some of the history of the area,” said Bradley Mcfarland, as he was looking over several Confederate memorials and statues on the grounds of the North Carolina state capitol.

Most of those polled agree there needs to be an explanation of what you’re seeing.

Ryan Raypold, who was also looking at the capitol statues, said, “It doesn’t take that much to put a placard explaining it but we can’t tear down those things that make us uncomfortable because that stuff will happen again if we don’t keep people educated.”

Husser explained, “People who supported the monument also supported some sort of plaque or some sort of other monument or some kind of context to say this is what it’s really about.”

Raleigh resident Ronnie Harris would like to see the monuments come down, but thinks other statues representing more of the story could help.
“The whole civil rights movement, what the confederate was fighting for, what the North was fighting for. That balance.”

Husser said there was another big takeaway.

“We got one interesting sort of open-ended response which is, ‘I want them to stay because I want to be able to tell people look at all these bad things these folks did’ so in some ways I think people have sort of flipped the script on what these monuments are meaning.”

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