Case Summary: SCSJ and Emancipate NC are representing Move the Monument Coalition Edenton-Chowan in their fight to remove a Confederate soldier statute from the town’s historic waterfront. The Coalition took root on June 19, 2021 – Juneteenth, which commemorates the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865, nearly two and a half years after it had been issued by President Lincoln.
Since then, the Coalition has peacefully voiced its desire for the statue to be removed from the waterfront. The Town Council ultimately and unanimously agreed to move the statue. Those efforts were thwarted, however, by a lawsuit filed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Following an “emergency” hearing in March 2023 – conducted without members of the public present, and with no evidence presented or transcript made – the relocation efforts were stopped. Since that took place, SCSJ and Emancipate NC have been providing guidance and support to the Coalition in its efforts to see the relocation efforts carried.
Status: The Town of Edenton has been ordered to “stay” its efforts to relocate the Confederate statute pending the outcome of the North Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling in The Society for the Historical Preservation of the Twenty-Sixth North Carolina Troops, Inc., v. City of Asheville, North Carolina, and Buncombe County, North Carolina, a case involving the Vance Monument in Asheville, NC.
Why it’s important: Communities across North Carolina have been actively seeking to remove monuments which celebrate those who sought to topple the United States government in order to maintain the institution of slavery. When local government bodies – whether in Edenton, Asheville, or Winston Salem – take steps, through the local political process, to remove or relocate these statutes, special interest groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy have time and again tried to interfere. SCSJ believes it is critically important to support these local efforts, built on local community organizing, to remove symbols of white supremacy.