SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - A statue that has stood in downtown Salisbury for more than 100 years may soon be moved, if the Salisbury City Council approves a tentative agreement.
WBTV has learned that “Fame" would be moved to the Old Lutheran Cemetery. Established in 1768 by John Lewis Beard, the cemetery is located at 515 N. Lee Street. 175 tombstones for Confederate soldiers were installed at the cemetery in 1996.
The tentative agreement on relocation was apparently reached on Thursday and involved representatives of several groups, including the City of Salisbury.
“The City of #SalisburyNC can confirm tentative discussions between Salisbury City Council and the United Daughters of the Confederacy local chapter to permanently relocate the Fame statue. At this time, no formal agreement has been signed or notarized,” the city of Salisbury tweeted Friday.
If the agreement is approved, Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black told WBTV that it would be a positive thing for the area.
“This is a step toward the healing for the citizens of Salisbury,” Black said. “It’s a symbol of times we don’t want to go back to, a time we don’t want to relive.”
Black said he is hopeful that the tentative agreement will be approved by council.
Sources close to the situation have confirmed that council will take up the issue of moving Fame during a meeting on Tuesday. The meeting can be seen here: www.salisburync.gov/webcast
The statue has been the site of recent incidents of vandalism and civil unrest. On Sunday, May 31, a man fired two shots in the air after confronting protesters near the base of the statue. That man, Jeffrey Long, was charged with inciting a riot, among other charges.
The next night there was another demonstration near Fame. Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd. One man in the crowd threw a rock through a window of The Salisbury Post/United Way building. Harvey Lee McCorkle, III, was charged with inciting a riot.
In at least two other recent incidents, paint has been thrown on the statue.
Dedicated in 1909 and created by sculptor Frederick W. Ruckstuhl, Fame is a bronze piece that depicts the muse Fame holding a dying Confederate soldier with one arm, and a laurel wreath held high in the other hand.
The pink granite base features inscriptions that say:
-IN MEMORY OF / ROWAN’S / CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS / THAT THEIR HEROIC DEEDS / SUBLIME SELF-SACRIFICE / AND UNDYING DEVOTION / TO DUTY AND COUNTRY / MAY NEVER BE FORGOTTEN / 1861-1865
-THEY GAVE THEIR / LIVES AND THEIR FORTUNES FOR / CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY / AND STATE SOVEREIGNTY / IN OBEDIENCE TO THE TEACHINGS OF THE / FATHERS WHO FRAMED / THE CONSTITUTION / AND ESTABLISHED THE / UNION OF THESE STATES
-SOLDIERS OF THE / CONFEDERACY / FAME HAS GIVEN YOU / AN IMPERISHABLE CROWN / HISTORY WILL RECORD / YOUR DARING VALOR / NOBLE SUFFERINGS AND / MATCHLESS ACHIEVEMENTS / TO THE HONOR AND / GLORY OF OUR LAND
-DEO VINDICE / R.I.P.
There is not yet a timeline on when and how Fame would be relocated.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.