Protesters In Raleigh Tear Down Statues From Confederate Monument

Protesters in Raleigh pulled down statues from a Confederate monument Friday night after marching in celebration of Juneteenth. The monument was dedicated in 1895.
Credit Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Protesters in Raleigh pulled down parts of a Confederate monument Friday night after marching in celebration of Juneteenth.

Demonstrators used straps and ropes to pull down two statues that are part of a larger monument near the state capitol in downtown Raleigh, WNCN-TV reported. Police officers earlier in the evening had foiled the protesters' previous attempt to use ropes to topple the statues, according to WRAL-TV.

Efforts to pull the statues down began before 7:30 p.m. By 9:27 p.m., protesters had tied a rope around one torn down statue of a soldier and hung it from a traffic pole at the corner of Hargett and Salisbury streets. Another soldier statue that was part of the monument was laid down in the street and then dragged in front of the Wake County courthouse.

The monument was also spray painted with “Black Lives Matter,” “No Justice No Peace,” and expletives. Named the “Confederate Soldiers Monument,” the statue had stood on the capitol grounds in Raleigh for more than a century. It was dedicated on May 20, 1895, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of demonstrators had marched through downtown Raleigh and Durham to protest against police brutality and to celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates the day in 1865 that enslaved African Americans in Texas learned they had been freed, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Numerous Confederate statues have been vandalized or torn down across the South in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Police shot and killed another Black man — 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks — in Atlanta last week.

Earlier this week, more than 60 North Carolina lawyers signed a letter urging legislative leaders and Governor Roy Cooper to remove Confederate monuments immediately. Rocky Mount and Asheville are among the other North Carolina cities who have taken actions to remove or relocate Confederate monuments in recent weeks.

There are still nearly 100 monuments honoring the Confederacy across North Carolina, according to state records.