State Appeals Court Says County Confederate Memorial Can Stay

A legal challenge to the Confederate war memorial in front of a North Carolina county courthouse has been turned back by the State Appeals Court.

The future of the statue in front of the Alamance County Courthouse in Graham, NC has been in doubt since the state and local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other local organizations had demanded it be removed from its public location in 2020.

According to the Washington Examiner, the court ruled that the statue was protected by the provisions of the Monument Protection Law, and the county has no authority to move the monument.

“At all times, the Monument Protection Law has required the county to leave the monument in its current place. Defendants’ hands are tied — even if they wanted to move the monument, they could not,” the ruling stated.

The Alamance News reported that the NAACP and its co-plaintiffs had argued that a provision in the law to allow the temporary relocation of monuments deemed structurally unsound applied to those which are so politically charged that they foment public unrest.

The newspaper report added that the behavior of rival groups of activists at the monument had inspired a former county manager to propose the monument’s temporary removal in 2020. The county manager’s suggestion nevertheless failed to gain any traction with the county’s governing board.

The left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center even paid to have a local billboard advertisement installed calling for the removal of the Alamance County monument in 2021 as part of a larger campaign to see similar statues removed.

According to the Historical Marker Database, the sculpture commemorates soldiers from Alamance County, who served during the Civil War. The sculpture project was spearheaded by the Graham Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Civic League of Burlington and erected in 1914.

Confederate statues and monuments have been pulled down in dozens of states since the George Floyd protests in 2020. In the most visible example, The United Daughters of the Confederacy and other Confederate heritage organizations had strenuously fought the removal of the Confederate statues arrayed along Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy. The last city-owned Confederate statue, which held the actual remains of Gen. A.P. Hill, was removed last year.