ROCKINGHAM — After 90 years of sitting in downtown’s Harrington Square, a monument to soldiers of the Confederacy will be coming down.
City Manager Monty Crump announced during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting that, barring objections from the council, he would have the memorial removed by an administrative order.
Crump announced the decision prior to City Clerk Sabrina McDonald reading aloud six emails calling for the removal.
The emails were read since the individuals were not able to attend the meeting due to Gov. Roy Cooper’s restrictions on indoor gatherings.
In those emails — from Jimmy Cooley, Maggi Chambers, Shayla Douglas, Zainab Bhatti, Briana Allen and Bryson Hudson — writers encouraged city leaders to be “on the right side of history” and remove the monument they say has stood as a symbol of white supremacy for nearly a century.
Most of the writers pointed out that the monument was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1930, during the Jim Crow era, which lasted from Reconstruction in the late 1800s to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
One side of the monument features a sword and laurel; 1861 and 1865, the start and end of the Civil War; and the phrase, “LEST WE FORGET.”
The other side features a Confederate battle flag, the years and the following inscription:
ERECTED IN 1930 BY THE PEE DEE GUARDS CHAPTER OF THE UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY OF RICHMOND COUNTY, IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS.”
Douglas, who started an online petition to have the monument removed said she did not believe Confederate History should be recognized in public places.
She and several others said the intent when it, and others like it, were erected was not to memorialize the fallen soldiers, but to serve as intimidation to black Americans and demonstrate white supremacy.
She and others brought up former governor and U.S. Senator Cameron Morrison, who was at the dedication and for whom the prison in Richmond County is named, and his role in the Wilmington massacre of 1898 where property and businesses of Black Americans were destroyed and an estimated 60-300 people were killed.
Allen said that all Confederate monuments should be taken down and there should be “no loving memory” of Confederate soldiers.
Cooley said he didn’t see an issue with the monument being on private property, only on public property.
Crump said the monument will be removed as soon as he can make arrangements and stored until someone claims it to be re-erected on private property.