Rocky Mount City Council Votes To Remove Confederate Monument

Jun 3, 2020

This Confederate soldiers monument at Battle Park in Rocky Mount, North Carolina was dedicated in 1917. The city council voted Tuesday to have the monument removed.
Credit Richard Phillips / North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

The Rocky Mount City Council has voted to remove a Confederate monument from a city park.

The 6-1 vote during Tuesday night's budget meeting was prompted by Councilman Andre Knight during a discussion about renovations in Battle Park, the Rocky Mount Telegram reported.

Councilman Reuben Blackwell made the motion to have the monument removed, according to the Telegram. Councilman W.B. Bullock casted the lone dissenting vote.

“I feel that we should not at this time allocate $100,000 or in the future any money to that park until we as a council address the Confederate statue in light of what has happened all across the country and in close proximity to us,” Knight said.

Blackwell added: “I don’t even want to go to the park, because I don’t want to look at it... It’s something that memorializes murder to me and to people who look like me, rape to me and (people) who look like me and economic subjugation to me and people who look like me.”

The monument, situated at Falls Road and Stonewall Drive, depicts a Confederate soldier standing at attention with the flag of the Confederacy by his side atop a column. The monument was dedicated on May 10, 1917, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson told WRAL-TV that once the decision is finalized with another open meeting vote next Monday, the monument will be moved somewhere for safekeeping until officials determine where it can be permanently placed at a private location.

Following the death of George Floyd – a 46-year-old black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota who died when a white police officer wedged his knee into the back of Floyd's neck – protests have popped up across the country. Rocky Mount residents protested peacefully at the monument this past Sunday. Knight spoke at the gathering, which was organized by Blackwell’s son Cooper, according to the Telegram.