EDENTON, N.C. (Sept. 8, 2023) – Southern Coalition for Social Justice and Emancipate NC urge the town of Edenton to seek a court hearing in order to carry out the town’s earlier decision to relocate a Confederate soldier monument.
SCSJ and Emancipate NC sent a letter on Sept. 8, 2023 on behalf of Move the Monument Coalition Edenton-Chowan. The Move the Monument Coalition, made up of residents of Edenton and its surrounding areas, has been engaged in ongoing efforts to move the Confederate soldier statue away from Edenton’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 unanimously agreed multiple times during the last 18 months to move the statue, and set aside money to ensure its safe relocation. Those efforts were thwarted 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.
In the letter, SCSJ and Emancipate NC assert that the legal claims put forth by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to stop the relocation have no basis, and the town can – and should – seek to move the case forward.
“Justice delayed is justice denied. And that is what’s happening here,” said Jake Sussman, Interim Chief Counsel, Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “The Town of Edenton has spoken through its Town Council: the statue is to be moved. United Daughters of the Confederacy has absolutely no standing to bring this lawsuit and interfere with those efforts.”
Emancipate NC, which has been working with the Coalition to protect their rights to peacefully protest the statue, has also assisted in a billboard campaign to draw attention to this issue.
“The Confederate soldier statue in Edenton, like Confederate statues everywhere, pays homage and respect to America’s racism,” Jaelyn Miller, Community Lawyering Fellow, Emancipate NC, said. “The Coalition and citizens of Edenton deserve to have their elected officials follow through on their commitment to relocate this statue. The lawsuit that is holding up that commitment isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”
Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org and follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.
Emancipate NC was founded on the knowledge that mass incarceration and structural racism harm all of us. Prison is state-sponsored violence. We are all complicit in its harms. As an organization, we are dedicated to shifting the narrative on racialized mass incarceration through community education and mobilization. The mainstream narrative that criminalizes Black and Brown people must be transformed—so that we can all get free. Emancipate NC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and was previously known as the Carolina Justice Policy Center.