The fate of Confederate statues

Silent Sam, a Confederate statue at UNC Chapel Hill was torn down in August 2018.  There has been a lot of controversy related to Confederate war memorials in North Carolina and the southern states.

Silent Sam, a Confederate statue at UNC Chapel Hill was torn down in August 2018. There has been a lot of controversy related to Confederate war memorials in North Carolina and the southern states.

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Protesters and supporters of the Winston-Salem Confederate statue gather at the corner of Fourth Street and Liberty Street for a rally on Jan. 13.  This is not an unusual sight for many in the South; Confederate statues throughout North Carolina and other southern states have been getting lots of attention after the Charlottesville riots resulted in the death of one person.  

   Today, many people are angry about the Confederate statue in Winston-Salem and the city has taken action to have it removed and relocated.  During the rally, protestors lined the streets with pickets signs saying, “From Winston-Salem to Chapel Hill, we don’t honor those that kill,” and “Take it down.”  

   “I think they should take down the statue because it is offensive to the people,” Sophomore Madeline Waterfield said.

   Many protestors agree with Waterfield.  Many see it as a way for southerners to promote racism and white supremacy, things that Waterfield says should not exist.

   “They’re promoting white supremacy and racism because people shouldn’t want that to be their Southern heritage,” Waterfield said, “It’s not like there’s something wrong about embracing Southern heritage, it’s just that you want it to embrace what it means to who you are.”

   However, as always, there are two sides to any debate.  Can there be an alternative to tearing down these statues?  Is there another way southerners can remember the fallen soldiers? Social studies teacher Ray Parrish thinks so.  

   “I would just like to see a really good dialogue.  I could see (the statue) going down, I could see it staying up, I could see a middle ground where we put another statue; we put a good firm message because part of the history is the protest and so there could be something there saying the history of this statue,” Parrish said, “It would be how (the statue) came up, protests were launched ‘here,’ and when you go through a historical area, they have a sign or a memorial; you’re kind of learning history as your going through this.”

   As Parrish states, there is a way to still learn about these statues and their history and also be aware of the pain it holds for others living in the south.  

I think they should be taken down so we can help to heal the wounds that still exist from slavery and from years and years after that of racism.”

— Waterfield

    However, for many people living in the south, protesting these statues and tearing them down is a big part in moving past the slavery and racism that has long been apparent in the south.  

   “I think they should be taken down so we can help to heal the wounds that still exist from slavery and from years and years after that of racism,” Waterfield said.

   This statement holds true for many people in the south who view removing these statues as a step in the right direction toward reversing the negative effects of slavery and racism.  Even more so, as Parrish mentions, a dialogue between the sides would be beneficial to reaching an agreement about Confederate statues throughout North Carolina and in the American South.

   “I’d love to see a really good discussion where people listen to others very well, where it’s not just for show or out of anger; I’ve really explored and I see all sides of it,” Parrish said, “I think the middle zone would be where they could have an honest discussion with each other, and eventually they could look at both sides.”

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