RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — One of the largest remaining confederate monuments in the U.S. is now gone. The statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, was taken down Wednesday.
In North Carolina, 71 Confederate monuments remain, according to Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks said that number’s been declining in recent years.
“North Carolina still has a number of monuments and memorials to go, but 24 memorials in 2020 is quite significant,” Brooks said.
Brooks said more monuments were removed in North Carolina in 2020 than the previous four years combined. She said the only state that removed more monuments in 2020 was Virginia.
“It’s also significant because North Carolina has a preservation law, a so-called preservation law that actually protects the removal of monuments, the changing of names, and that kind of thing,” Brooks said.
Brooks is referring to a 2015 law that requires the North Carolina Historical Commission to approve the removal or relocation of monuments.
James E. Williams, Jr., an attorney, is part of an effort to remove Confederate monuments and symbols from courthouses in the state. He knows of at least 13 communities working to remove one of the symbols.
“Why they should come down from courthouse spaces is because they are inconsistent with this notion of equal justice for all,” Williams said.
He said there are no Confederate monuments at courthouses in Wake County.
Beyond statues, Brooks said there are 171 Confederate symbols in North Carolina. That number includes monuments, memorials, schools, trails, parks, and military installations.