Since George Floyd's Death, These Confederate Monuments Have Been Removed In North Carolina
This story was updated at 3:23 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2020.
While the Confederacy lasted just a bit longer than four years, its memory has lived on for lifetimes in the form of historical markers, the names of streets, counties and towns, its flag and monuments.
Some argue that these symbols are about history and heritage. But for many, it’s a painful reminder of what the Confederate states largely fought for: the right to own Black people as slaves, to capitalize off their free labor and to treat them as subhuman.
Over the past decade, activism and public pressure following murders of Black people have led to some change.
Red icons represent monuments that are still standing. Green icons represent monuments that are pending possible removal. Black icons represent monuments that have been removed. Based on reporting from WUNC and data from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
After white supremacist Dylan Roof shot and killed nine unarmed Black people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, a Confederate soldiers monument that stood in front the Old City Hall in Charlotte was one of several symbols around the country that was removed or relocated. More monuments – like one of a Confederate soldier that stood in front of the Durham County Courthouse – came down in 2017 after a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent, killing Heather Heyer and injuring many more. Five days after protesters toppled that statue in Durham, Duke University removed a statue of Robert E. Lee from its chapel. In 2018, protesters pulled down the Silent Sam statue that formerly stood on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. A Confederate monument that had stood in Pittsboro for 112 years was removed in 2019.
And in the weeks following the death of George Floyd — an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota who was killed after a white police officer jammed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes — more monuments, markers and names have been changed or removed, either by governments or the force of protesters.
Removing these monuments became a bit trickier in 2015, when — under former Gov. Pat McCrory — the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Cultural History Artifact Management and Patriotism Act, which limits the removal of an “object of remembrance” from public property.
Still, activists, protesters, local officials and lawmakers have gotten creative and found loopholes around the law.
According to data tracked by WUNC, at least 24 Confederate monuments have been removed (or have been approved for removal) in North Carolina since May 25, 2020; the day of Floyd’s death. According to data from the Southern Poverty Law Center — last updated on Dec. 21 — there are still 76 Confederate monuments in North Carolina, tied with Texas for the third-most of any state in the U.S.
Since Floyd’s death, North Carolina has removed the second-most Confederate monuments of any state, trailing only Virginia and its 40 removals.
This post will be updated whenever a North Carolina Confederate monument is removed, with the most recent removals at the top.
"Zebulon Vance Monument" (Asheville)
Original Location: Pack Square
Unveiled/Dedicated: May 10, 1898
Status: The 65-foot obelisk was shrouded in early July after it had become a rallying point for protests after the death of George Floyd. Later in July, a task force was formed by the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners to make recommendations for the monument’s future. That task force voted 11-1 to remove the monument, and on Dec. 8, the city council accepted the recommendation with a 6-1 vote.
While the decision has been made, questions remain about how it will be carried out, and how much it will cost to do so.
Zebulon Vance was a native of Buncombe County and became the Governor of North Carolina during the Civil War. Prior to being elected governor, he served in the Confederate army as a colonel. Vance was also a slave-owner, and historian Sasha Mitchell claims that he was once a grand dragon in the Ku Klux Klan.
"Confederate Monument" (Lexington)
Original Location: Lexington Square, on the corner of East Center and North Main streets
Unveiled/Dedicated: Sept. 14, 1905
Status: After much debate and delay, the monument that had stood in Lexington for 115 years was removed on Oct. 16 after the Davidson County Superior Court dismissed the restraining order filed by county commissioners against the city of Lexington. The city paid for the removal and storage of the monument.
Calls for its removal sparked in June. More than 2,000 people signed an online petition calling for the removal the statue and the Lexington City Council drafted a proposal to remove the monument. Supporters for the monument gathered near it in early July. Then, on July 13, the Lexington City Council voted to remove it, but the Davidson County Commissioners denied that request. On Aug. 13, Lexington’s city council announced that it will be taking legal action to remove the Confederate monument after commissioners in Davidson County said they would not remove it. The monument sat on county-owned property.
The monument had a granite base and depicted a Confederate soldier standing atop it, holding a rifle. On the rear of the base was a message that read: “SLEEP SWEETLY IN YOUR HUMBLE GRAVES. SLEEP MARTYRS OF A FALLEN CAUSE.”
"Confederate Soldiers Memorial" (Rockingham)
Original Location: At the intersection of Lee Street and West Washington Street.
Unveiled/Dedicated: Nov. 14, 1930
Status: City Manager Monty Crump initiated “administrative removal” of the monument located in Harrington Square on Aug. 11, according to the Richmond County Daily Journal. The monument will be placed in storage until its owner can be determined.
The 14-foot tall monument has a Confederate flag carved into the front of it, commemorating soldiers of the Confederacy. It was sponsored by the Pee Dee Guards chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It was unveiled at a ceremony attended by World War I veterans, local Boy Scouts and Cameron Morrison, a former governor, senator and congressman for North Carolina. An online petition to remove the monument had garnered more than 3,400 signatures, and a counter petition had about 780 supporters. No city council members in Rockingham objected to the removal.
"Gaston County Confederate Monument" (Gastonia)
Original Location: The Gaston County Courthouse
Unveiled/Dedicated: Nov. 21, 1912
Status: Gaston County commissioners voted 6-1 on Aug. 3 to remove the monument from the courthouse grounds. The monument will be given to the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the group has six months to find an alternative location for it.
The 35-foot tall monument shows a Confederate soldier at rest atop of a column, resting on the barrel of his rifle. It was originally located on South Street, but was moved to the courthouse in 1998. The monument cost just $3,000 to build in 1912, and now Gaston County will pay up to $200,000 to move the monument again.
As of Dec. 21, the monument still stood in front of the courthouse. The NAACP's Gaston County branch, the National Association for Black Veterans' Gaston County chapter, and the Eta Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity have filed lawsuits against the county commissioners in an effort to expedite the removal of the monument.
"Confederate Monument" (Elizabeth City)
Original Location: Pasquotank County Courthouse
Unveiled/Dedicated: May 10, 1911
Status: Pasquotank County’s Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 on July 13 to remove the monument. As of Aug. 12, it is still there and it is unclear when exactly it will be removed and where it will end up.
The 30-foot monument shows a Confederate soldier in complete uniform, armed with a knife and rifle. It is the only remaining public Confederate monument in Pasquotank County. According to WAVY, a special projects committee will be appointed to figure out where the monument will go and how much it will cost to move it. Before the Board of Commissioners’ vote, the Pasquotank chapter of the NAACP had twice asked for the monument to be removed in the past five years.
"Confederate Soldiers Monument" (Clinton)
Original Location: Sampson County Courthouse on E. Main Street
Unveiled/Dedicated: May 12, 1916
Status: Removed on July 12 after it was vandalized overnight. Just days before, the Clinton city council adopted a resolution to urge county leaders to remove the monument.
A bronze statue depicting a Confederate soldier standing at rest, the monument was intended to commemorate the soldiers from Sampson County who fought in the Civil War. It cost $1,700 to build more than 100 years ago and was sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It's unklnown where the statue is now, how damaged it is or if it will be erected again. The base of the monument remains.
"1929 Confederate Reunion Marker" (Charlotte)
Original Location: Charlotte’s Grady Cole Center on North Kings Drive
Unveiled/Dedicated: June 7, 1929
Status: After plans to deface it surfaced on social media, Mecklenburg County Commission Chair George Dunlap ordered the county manager to remove the monument. On July 10, the order was carried out and placed in an undisclosed storage unit in Mecklenburg County. It is unclear if the monument’s removal will be permanent.
The monument was presented around the 68th anniversary of North Carolina’s succession from the Union. Richard Battle Stitt, the son of a Confederate veteran, paid for the slab of stone. It commemorated the 39th reunion of the United Confederate Veterans. The monument was vandalized in the summer of 2015 with spray paint after the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.
"Confederate Soldiers Monument" (Greensboro)
Original Location: Green Hill Cemetery
Unveiled/Dedicated: Sept. 26, 1888
Status: After being pulled down on the weekend of July 4 it was placed in storage after suffering "pretty extensive" damage, according to Frank B. Powell, a spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The monument marked the mass grave of about 300 unknown Confederate soldiers in Greensboro. It depicts a soldier, wearing a coat and a hat, holding a musket. The monument had previously been vandalized in 1969 and 2017, and was damaged in 2008 when a large tree limb fell on it. The city of Greensboro has little to do with the monument, as it is taken care by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It is unknown who pulled down the monument. It is also unclear if the monument will be re-erected in the cemetery, or if it will be moved to private property. As of July 9, it remained in storage.
"Anson County Confederate Soldiers Monument" (Wadesboro)
Original Location: Anson County Courthouse
Unveiled/Dedicated: Jan. 19, 1906
Status: The monument was removed on July 8 after a 4-2 vote by county commissioners the day before. The monument was put into storage, but a county resident will pay to have it displayed on their private property.
The monument was built to memorialize Confederate soldiers from the county. It showed a soldier standing at rest while holding his gun, letting the butt of it rest on the ground. The United Daughters of the Confederacy paid $3,000 to have it built. More than 100 Civil War veterans attended its unveiling ceremony.
"Confederate Monument" (Henderson)
Original Location: In front of the old Vance County Courthouse
Unveiled/Dedicated: Nov. 10, 1910
Status: The monument was removed on July 3 following a 4-3 vote by the Vance County Commissioners. It was moved to an undisclosed storage area.
It was another monument that depicted a Confederate soldier holding a rifle. It stood about 35 feet tall and cost about $3,700 to build and install – a cost split in 1910 by Vance County, the city of Henderson and the UDC. When the monument was removed, a time capsule was found inside containing books, pictures, coins and newspapers marking the death of King Edward VII.
"Lenoir County Confederate Monument" (Kinston)
Original Location: Lenoir County Visitors and Information Center on U.S. 70
Unveiled/Dedicated: May 10, 1924
Status: The Lenoir County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on June 25 to relocate the monument. On July 1, it was moved to the First Battle of Kinston Civil War Battlefield Park on Harriette Drive.
This monument in Kinston has been moved around a few times, originally going up in the Vernon Heights area, then moved to the Governor Caswell State Historic Site, then moved to New Bern Road, and then in front of the county’s visitors center. It was sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, but its cost is unknown to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. The monument depicts a bronze common soldier standing at rest. Two small pillars are topped with cannon balls. The inscription reads, “Not for wages, not for glory, ‘twas for home and right they fell.” The first battle of Kinston happened in Dec. 1862 when Union troops were advancing to Goldsboro. About 125 Confederate soldiers were killed and 400 more were captured.
"Our Confederate Dead" (Louisburg)
Original location: Main Street
Unveiled/Dedicated: May 13, 1914
Status: The Louisburg Town Council held an emergency meeting on June 22 and voted to move the monument to a cemetery near the graves of Confederate soldiers. The statue of a soldier on top of the monument was removed on June 30.
The monument was placed on a traffic median, forming a grass island, surrounded by the buildings of Louisburg College, which now has a majority Black student body. It is owned by the town of Louisburg, but the United Daughters of the Confederacy contributed money to build it. The monument is of a soldier holding a gun, standing atop an obelisk.
"Cumberland County Confederate Monument" (Fayetteville)
Original Location: Cross Creek Cemetery
Unveiled/Dedicated: Dec. 30, 1868
Status: The monument was removed on June 30.
The oldest Confederate monument in the state of North Carolina stood for 152 years in the Cross Creek Cemetery. Inscribed on it are stanzas from a poem by Theodore O’Hara. It was a marker for a mass grave for 30 Confederate soldiers who were killed while protecting Fayetteville from Union troops led by William T. Sherman in 1865, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. The monument was funded through a raffle for a quilt. According to the Fayetteville Observer, the monument is privately owned and removed at their request.
"1902 Confederate Soldiers Monument" (Fayetteville)
Original Location: Intersection of East and West Dobbins avenues
Unveiled/Dedicated: May 10, 1902
Status: Removed by private owners on June 27.
First located in the center of St. James Square, the 23-foot-tall monument shows a Confederate infantryman holding a gun. The monument also features two small cannons. It has twice been re-dedicated; in 1992 when it was restored and in 2002 when it was moved. Its construction was funded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Women of Cumberland County. According to the Fayetteville Observer, councilman Johnny Dawkins that the Sons of Confederate Veterans and UDC own the statue and had it moved. The city did not ask or pay for the statue to be moved. It is unknown where the statue will be moved to.
"Confederate Monument" (Wilmington)
Original Location: Third Street
Unveiled/Dedicated: Nov. 6, 1924
Status: The Wilmington City Council voted to temporarily remove the monument — and a statue of Confederate Attorney General George Davis — on June 24. They were removed overnight to an undisclosed location.
The monument was built to honor the Confederate soldiers of New Hanover County. It depicts one soldier standing tall and holding a gun, protecting a fallen soldier. Also known as the “Boney Monument,” it cost about $20,000 to build, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. It was previously vandalized in the 1950s and 1980s.
"Confederate Monument" (Warrenton)
Original location: Warren County Courthouse Square
Unveiled/Dedicated: Oct. 27, 1913
Status: The Warren County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to remove the monument on June 23. Removal began the next day.
Dedicated to Confederate soldiers from Warren County, the monument was a stone obelisk displaying a bearded soldier carrying a gun at the top. It is one of several Confederate monuments made by the W.H. Mullins company of Salem, Ohio. Calls for its removal began in 2017 after the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The monument will be placed in storage until the commissioners reach a decision on if and where it should be relocated to.
"Confederate Monument" (Oxford)
Original Location: In front of the library in Oxford
Unveiled/Dedicated: Oct. 30, 1909
Status: The monument was removed on June 24 after six Granville County Commissioners signed an order of removal.
The 34-foot-tall monument is topped with a bronze statue of a soldier holding a gun. It cost about $3,000 to build and was sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The monument will remain in storage until leaders in Granville County decide what to do with it. The monument had been moved once before, in 1971, after protests. It’s first location was in front of the county courthouse.
"Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument" (Greenville)
Original location: 100 West Third Street
Unveiled/Dedicated: Nov. 13, 1914
Status: Removal of the monument began on June 22 after the Pitt County Board of Commissioners voted 7-2 to remove it on June 15.
The only remaining Confederate monument in Greenville and greater Pitt County showed a soldier standing atop a column, wearing a wide-brimmed hat with his arms rested on a gun. An inscription on the monument dedicates it “To The Heroes Of 1861-1865.” Calls for its removal first arose in 2006, and more than 6,000 people signed an online petition demanding its removal this year. A relocation committee appointed by the Pitt County Board of Commissioners will determine a final resting place for the monument at a later date.
"North Carolina Women of the Confederacy" (Raleigh)
Original Location: State Capitol Grounds
Unveiled/Dedicated: June 10, 1914
Status: Removed on June 20 following an order from Gov. Roy Cooper.
The monument was the first in North Carolina to honor the women of the Civil War. It was paid for by Confederate Colonel Ashley Horne, who later served in the state senate. Horne tried to secure funding for the monument while he was in the senate, but failed and donated the money himself. He died before it was unveiled. The seven-foot-tall monument depicts an older woman holding a book, sitting next to a young boy holding a sword. It is meant to represent women in the south as custodians of history, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. Since its removal, it is unknown where the monument is being held or where it will end up.
"Henry Lawson Wyatt Monument" (Raleigh)
Original Location: State Capitol Grounds
Unveiled/Dedicated: June 10, 1912
Status: Removed on June 20 following an order from Gov. Roy Cooper.
A private in the Bethel Regiment, Wyatt is believed to have been the first North Carolinian and the Confederate soldier to have been killed in battle in the Civil War, dying at the Battle of Big Bethel near Newport News, Virginia in 1861. The monument shows Wyatt, in bronze, carrying a gun and walking into battle. The monument was repaired and cleaned in 2008. Since its removal, it is unknown where the monument is being held or where it will end up. There is also a memorial fountain bearing Wyatt's name in Tarboro.
"Confederate Monument" (Raleigh)
Original Location: State Capitol Grounds
Unveiled/Dedicated: May 20, 1895
Status: The final remnants of the monument were removed on June 24, following an order from Gov. Roy Cooper. On June 19, protesters pulled down two statues attached to the monument, hanging one from a light post and dragging the other down the street.
The monument, anchored by a 75-foot-tall obelisk, had stood in Raleigh for more than 125 years. Before its vandalization and removal, a Confederate artillery soldier stood at the very top and a Confederate cavalryman and infantryman stood on the sides. There were also two 32-pounder Naval cannons stationed at the bottom. The monument is owned by the state and cost $22,000 to build in the late 1800s, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. It was unveiled by the granddaughter of Stonewall Jackson. Since its removal, it is unknown where the monument is being held or where it will end up. However, the cannons that were at the bottom of the monument have already found a new home at Fort Fisher. A time capsule was found inside the base of the monument, and experts believe it contained a button from one of Robert E. Lee’s coats.
Original Location: W. Innes Street
Unveiled/Dedicated: May 10, 1909
Status: The Salisbury City Council voted unanimously to relocate the monument on June 16. The United Daughters of the Confederacy signed an agreement to relocate it on June 21. It was removed and placed in storage on July 6.
The 23-foot tall monument, built on deeded land by the UDC in the memory of Rowan County soldiers, depicts an angel-like figure holding a dying soldier clutching his gun. According to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, it is one of the most expensive Confederate monuments in the state, costing $11,500 in the early 1900s. Repairs and restoration to the monument cost $14,000 in 1991. Calls for the monument to be relocated grew in 2015 and 2017, and it was vandalized in 2018. Gunshots were fired at a protest near the monument days after Floyd’s death. Per the agreement reached between the city and the UDC, its final resting place will be at Salisbury’s Old Lutheran Cemetery on North Lee Street.
"Monument to 60th Regt. NC Volunteers" (Asheville)
Original Location: Buncombe County Courthouse
Unveiled/Dedicated: Nov. 8, 1905
Status: Asheville’s city council approved its removal on June 9 and the Buncombe County Commissioners followed with their own approval on June 16. The monument was removed on July 14 and a marker for Robert E. Lee was removed two weeks earlier.
The three-tier monument is inscribed with more than 680 words. It stands about 25 feet tall and shows the Confederate battle flag. Two Confederate generals and 18 colonels came from Buncombe County. It is unclear where the monument where the monument and the marker for Lee was moved to.
"Nash County Confederate Monument" (Rocky Mount)
Original Location: Falls Road and Stonewall Drive
Unveiled/Dedicated: May 14, 1917
Status: The Rocky Mount City Council voted 6-1 to remove the monument on June 2. Crews began removing it on June 29.
The monument, funded by Colonel R.H. Hicks who served in the Civil War, shows a common Confederate soldier standing at attention with the Confederate battle flag at his side. There were two other soldier statues part of the monument, but two were stolen in the 1970s and two more were removed and stored for safekeeping, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. Restorations of the monument took place in 1976 and 2012. Rocky Mount mayor Sandy Roberson said the monument will be stored in a warehouse and will likely end up on a private property.
- Protesters in Graham want a Confederate monument from the city’s downtown removed. It has been stationed in front of the Alamance County Courthouse since May 16, 1914. It shows a soldier standing atop a large base, which contains a number of Confederate relics. Protesters gathered near the statue for a demonstration on July 1. Political and community leaders in the county are at odds about the possibility of its removal.
- Jackson County Commissioners voted 4-1 on Aug. 4 to keep a Confederate monument in place. However, the group “Reconcile Sylva” vows that it will continue to advocate for the dismantling of the monument.The monument depicts a Confederate infantryman, Sylva Sam. It was unveiled in 1915 and is the only remaining public Confederate monument in Jackson County. Protestors and Confederate supporters gathered near the statue on July 11. In December, the base of the monument was covered as county commissioners work to finalize what the monument will look like after it’s updated. A plaque explaining Jackson County’s role in the Civil War will be added to it.
- Three years after protesters pulled down the statue that stood atop of it, the base of a Confederate monument in Durham was removed by contractors for Durham County on Aug. 11