Protesters in Durham, North Carolina took a stand in solidarity with the anti-racist activists in Charlottesville, Virginia when those gathered toppled a Confederate statue. Demonstrators came together at Old Durham County courthouse and circled the Confederate Soldiers Monument. A woman climbed to the top of the statue to place a rope around its neck so it could be pulled down. That woman is now in custody.
That women’s name is Takiyah Thompson a member of Workers World Party and student at N.C. Central University she is being charged with felonies. According to authorities Thompson is being charged with participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H Felony) and inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F Felony), disorderly conduct by injury to a statue and damage to real property, both misdemeanors.
Sheriff Mike Andrews was quoted saying, “Let me be clear no one is getting away with what happened.” Sheriff Andrews also said that other people in the video will be arrested.
The toppled statue was dedicated in 1924 and it depicts a soldier holding a gun on top of a concrete pillar. Engraved on the pillar are the words: “In memory of the boys who wore gray.”
After the protesters circled the statue, a person climbed a ladder and tied a rope to the top of the soldier. The crowd chanted, “We are the revolution.” Then the crowd pulled the rope and cheered loudly as the statue fell to the ground. After it was on the ground, several of the protesters ran up to the broken statue, kicking it and spitting on it.
The governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, tweeted: “The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable, but there is a better way to remove these monuments.”
The North Carolina protest was not the only demonstration in America. From the east coast to the west coast, a number of demonstrations were organized since the violence in Virginia over the weekend. Many of the demonstrators, impassioned because of Heather Heyer’s murder while protesting against the white supremacists, connected with each other through Facebook events.
The event page for the Durham protest read: “Emergency Protest — Stand in Solidarity with Charlottesville.” At the end of the event description, it said, “Tear down all white supremacist Confederate statues now!”
The police in Durham reported that no arrests were made because the incident took place on county property.
In Gainesville, Florida, construction workers who had been given approval by the county removed a Confederate statue called “Old Joe.” The statue stood outside of the Alachua County Administration Building for over 100 years. It was unveiled in 1909 and depicted a soldier known as “Old Joe” standing with his gun in his hands. It has taken some time, but Alachua County finished the process of removing the statue and figuring out where to relocate it.
“Back in May 2017, Alachua County Board of Commissioners made the decision, to remove the statue stating that they didn’t think the current location in front of the Alachua County Administrative building was an appropriate place for the statue since it’s a busy public area,” Mark Sexton, a county spokesperson said.
After being turned down by several organizations, the United Daughters of the Confederacy agreed to relocate “Old Joe.”
What are your thoughts about these statues coming down? Should they even be relocated?