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Confederate Memorials in Wilmington: Here to Stay Unless NC General Assembly Deems Otherwise

Billy Hathorn (Own Work), CC-BY-SA-3.0, 07/30/2012
Confederate Memorial, Downtown Wilmington

When the Confederate flag was removed from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse last year, it ignited a discussion in the American South about the role of Confederate memorialization.  But while there may be local discussions about removing Confederate monuments, it would take an act of North Carolina’s General Assembly to do so. 

Dr. Monica Gisolfi is a history professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.  She says that other states and localities have chosen to remove monuments from public spaces and transfer them into museums, where educators can contextualize the pieces.  But…

"We in North Carolina are not allowed to do that because the state legislature, just as South Carolina last year was deciding to take down its Confederate flag, our state legislature went and passed legislation barring the removal basically of any Confederate monument.  So we can’t even say, in Wilmington, get to have a decision about whether or not these monuments belong in civic spaces."

Governor Pat McCrory says the bill is intended to ensure that state monuments tell the complete story of North Carolina.