Salisbury Confederate statue ‘Fame’ placed in new location

In the new location, the statue is surrounded by a fence and will be monitored by security cameras.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:52 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2021 at 7:50 PM EDT
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - The Confederate statue “Fame” that had stood in a median at the corner of W. Innes and Church streets in Salisbury for more than 100 years before being moved into storage last July, is now being placed in its permanent home.

The City of Salisbury announced on Friday morning that Fame would be placed in the Old Lutheran Cemetery on N. Lee Street. In the new location, the statue is surrounded by a fence and will be monitored by security cameras. Crews began installing the statue in its new location at 9:00 a.m. The statue was in place around 4:00 p.m.

Mayor Karen Alexander released the following statement about Fame’s relocation:

The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) Hoke Chapter, owners of the Fame statue, have displayed remarkable leadership in their collaborative work with Salisbury community stakeholders on the careful and deliberate research to find an appropriate, permanent location for Fame.

The final chosen site of the Old Lutheran Cemetery on Lee Street, filled with the graves of both known and unknown Confederate soldiers, was chosen with the full support of the national, state and local UDC, for both the location and the agreement.

After a year of planning, site research and the preparation, Fame is now in her final location, placed in historical context, overlooking the graves of the soldiers for which she was originally created in perpetuity.

Gemale Black, President of the Rowan-Salisbury NAACP chapter, released the following statement over the statue’s new location:

We, the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP, know that this is the appropriate place for the Fame statue. Moving Fame to the Lutheran Cemetery near the graves of Confederate soldiers gives it context and can still allow for additional historical and educational information to be shared.

About a dozen people came to the Old Lutheran Cemetery to witness the statue being brought out of storage. Many were longtime Salisbury residents.

“As long as I can remember it’s been there,” Wanda Peninger said. “I think it’s important we remember history. ... I’m glad she is somewhere people can see her.”

“I think it’s a good thing they’re putting it back up and it’s in a safer location, here in a cemetery,” Joseph Stewart of the Fame Preservation Group said.

“I wanted to see the statue put back up it’s been in Salisbury my entire life. My father was a retired Salisbury Police Officer and it meant a whole lot to the city and I hate that it’s been moved but at least it can be put somewhere where we can come see it,” Salisbury resident Phil Peeler said.

Many people in attendance hope the new location will put the controversy and violence over the statue to rest.

“Both sides of the controversy, whether it be black lives matter or fame preservation group. We can meet in a middle ground and actual get along. We can have different political beliefs and still talk to one another. Not have hatred for one another. That’s what we’ve been trying to build on the whole time,” Gregory Lambeth of the Fame Preservation Group said.

Fame had been declared a public safety risk by police after it was twice vandalized and after several protests near the statue. The United Daughters of the Confederacy, (UDC), custodians of Fame, signed an agreement to relocate the monument. City Council previously approved two resolutions on June 16, 2020, to move the monument.

The history of Fame goes back to 1901 when members of the Robert F. Hoke Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy began collecting money to “raise a monument for the Rowan veterans.”

The monument cost $11,500. The base is made of pink granite that came from the Balfour mine in Granite Quarry.

Fame is also known as “Gloria Victus,” and was created by a French-born American sculptor named Frederick Wellington Ruckstull. The sculpture was cast in Brussels in 1891.

A nearly identical twin sculpture, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, was removed from public display in Baltimore in 2017 following violence that erupted during a white nationalist rally. That sculpture is currently in storage.

Fame was dedicated during a special ceremony on Confederate Memorial Day, May 10, 1909. Among the guests in attendance were 162 Confederate veterans, and Anna Morrison Jackson, the widow of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.

During the dedication, Bennett H. Young, a former Lieutenant in the Confederate Army who once led a raid on the small town of St. Albans, Vermont, said that the Confederacy was “defeated, not because they were wrong or unfaithful in any aspect whatever, but because an overruling Providence decreed their downfall...” He also said, “Of one thing my friends, we of the South are absolute sure... that... no misrepresentation of facts, no perversion of truth, no falsely written history tortured to meet partisan bias and prejudice, can deprive us before the bar of public justice... for the superb and magnificent contest they waged for a great principal. The sword does not always decide the right. We failed and yet we know we stood for truth.”

The figure of the soldier, identified as a Confederate by his “CS” belt buckle, being held by Fame was based on an 1861 photograph of Confederate Lt. Henry Howe Cook of Franklin, Tenn.

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