N.C. ranks second in U.S. with 24 Confederate monuments, symbols removed in 2020

N.C. ranks second in U.S. with 24 Confederate monuments, symbols removed in 2020
Salisbury City Council approved two resolutions to move the “Fame” Confederate monument, a statue that stood in downtown Salisbury for more than 100 years. (Source: Steve Ohnesorge/WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina removed 24 Confederate monuments and symbols in 2020, ranking as the second most removals for any state in the country.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently announced that more than 160 Confederate symbols have been removed in 2020.

According to the SPLC, The Whose Heritage? report found that at least 168 Confederate symbols were renamed or removed from public spaces in 2020.

A total of 94 of those symbols were Confederate monuments. For a comparison, 58 Confederate monuments were removed between 2015 and 2019.

The SPLC says by the end of 2020, North Carolina had removed 24 Confederate symbols, second only to Virginia, who removed 71.

Alabama and Texas both removed 12 to tie for third place.

The report says at least 167 Confederate symbols were removed after George Floyd’s death on May 25, including one symbol in Arizona that was stolen from public property.

In comparison, only one symbol was removed prior to George Floyd’s death when Virginia replaced Lee-Jackson Day with Election Day in April.

View a list of the 168 Confederate symbols that have been removed across the U.S. here.

The report shows that more than 2,100 Confederate symbols are still publicly present in the U.S., and 704 of those symbols are monuments.

“2020 was a transformative year for the Confederate symbols movement. Over the course of seven months, more symbols of hate were removed from public property than in the preceding four years combined. Despite this progress, communities informed the SPLC about more than 300 Confederate symbols located across the United States that remain. Many were located in the South, specifically Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, where preservation laws prohibit communities from making their own decisions about what they want to see in their public spaces. These dehumanizing symbols of pain and oppression continue to serve as backdrops to important government buildings, halls of justice, public parks, and U.S. military properties, including ten bases named after Confederate leaders across the South. We must recognize states like Virginia which not only had the courage to discontinue its preservation law, but also led by example after removing 71 Confederate symbols from their public spaces in 2020. Name changes are pending for 31 public schools across the country in 2021, ensuring that students will no longer be forced to learn in schools bearing racist namesakes. As witnessed on Jan. 6 when an insurrectionist brazenly carried a Confederate flag through the halls of the U.S. Capitol, Confederate symbols are a form of systemic racism used to intimidate, instill fear, and remind Black people that they have no place in American society. The SPLC firmly believes that all symbols of white supremacy should be removed from public spaces and will continue to support community efforts to remove, rename and relocate them,” SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks said.

The Whose Heritage? Action Guide helps communities take action to remove symbols of the Confederacy from public places.

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