NC nonprofit launches a campaign to remove Confederate statues from courthouse grounds

A North Carolina criminal justice nonprofit announced a campaign to rid the state’s courthouse grounds of Confederate statues.

NC CRED, the North Carolina Commission on Racial & Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, said that monuments to white supremacy should not stand outside courthouses.

“Their presence at courthouses undermines our country’s aspirational goal of guaranteeing equal justice under the law, something that cannot be realized as long as people of color have to walk past monuments to white supremacy to enter a courthouse,” James E. Williams, NC CRED chairman, said in a statement.

Confederate monuments in the state have been removed from public places at an increased pace since the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. in 2017.

Activists tore down some of them –  the statue outside the old Durham courthouse and Silent Sam at UNC-Chapel Hill, for example.

The pace of removals picked up after the death of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis police last year.  WUNC tracked Confederate monument removals last year and found at least 24 had been removed or approved for removal since Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020.

It’s unclear how many Confederate monuments still stand in the state. NC CRED said 41 are on courthouse grounds.

As part of its public campaign, NC CRED plans to sponsor public events on the history of Confederate monuments in the state, help local communities and groups trying to remove them, and compile information on monument fundraising efforts, accounts of their dedication, and dedication speeches.

“For generations now, Black residents have been bitterly welcomed by these symbols that include monuments, murals, portraits, and other racist iconography,” Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, President of the North Carolina NAACP and NC CRED commission member said in a statement.  “Removing the monuments will not erase history. Instead, it will create history as we endeavor to right the wrongs of what they represent. We’re encouraged by the monuments that have been removed thus far, and hopeful that every single one of them will be removed.”

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