A Confederate monument in Raleigh, North Carolina, has been vandalized, WTVD-TV, Raleigh-Durham, reported. “Black Lives Matter” was spray-painted on the downtown monument near the state Capitol.
The monument, dedicated to North Carolina Women of the Confederacy, sits on Morgan Street and features a woman holding a book and sitting next to a young boy holding a sword. The woman represents women in the South as custodians of history because the monument depicts her as teaching the young boy about the history of the Civil War. A plaque on the eastern side of the statue features soldiers departing for war, while a plaque on the western side features a weary Confederate soldier coming home. The monument is seven-feet and 101 years old.
There have been several recent instances of Confederate monuments in North Carolina being vandalized. In June, someone spray-painted “racist” on a monument that honors Confederate soldiers at Old City Hall in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Associated Press reported. Someone also smeared liquid cement on a Confederate memorial monument near the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte the same day.
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After the South Carolina shooting, a debate about Confederate symbols in public spaces ensued, and many people have voiced opposition to the various Confederate monuments throughout the South.
Many of the monuments that have been vandalized in recent weeks have simply been cleaned, not removed. The North Carolina Legislature already had moved toward more protection for the monuments prior to the Charleston shooting that spawned the recent outcry for the removal of Confederate monuments. The Senate passed a bill in April that banned state and local authorities from removing “objects of remembrance” from public property without legislative action. A committee approved the bill last week and sent it to the full House.
“This bill has nothing to do with what’s happened with the Confederate flag, but I think that’s a good reason we need something like this -- to stave off the flames of passion,” Rep. Michael Speciale said, according to Stars and Stripes, an independent multimedia news organization catering to the military community. “This is why the General Assembly will still be able to remove or replace these items if necessary. We’re supposed to be the ones who do not get caught up in the fad of the moment.”
There are roughly 120 Civil War monuments in North Carolina, about a dozen of which were dedicated to Union soldiers and around 100 related to the Confederacy.