Confederate statue being removed in North Carolina city


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A construction crew was preparing to take down a Confederate statue in a North Carolina city this morning, a rare move in a state where such monuments are largely protected by law.

Two cranes were set up on either side of the statue in Winston-Salem and traffic was blocked on a main downtown thoroughfare.

At one point, a worker on a cherry picker was raised up to the top of the statue and appeared to be looking at how to attach a chain or harness.

"Work has started and hopefully it will be removed by end of the day," City Manager Lee Garrity said in an email.

Several onlookers were out, and temporary concrete barriers were blocking traffic in several directions.

Standing across the street from the statue, Howard Snow said the city was wasting money by taking the statue down and that the money could be put to better use.

Winston-Salem had more leeway than most North Carolina cities because the old courthouse property had passed into private hands. A 2015 North Carolina law all but prohibits the permanent removal of Confederate statues from public land.

In January, judge denied a request by the United Daughters of The Confederacy for a temporary restraining order to prevent the removal of the statue. Winston-Salem city officials had given the group until the end of that month to move the statue from the grounds of the building that now houses apartments, or the city would remove the monument itself. The mayor has proposed moving it to a cemetery.

North Carolina has been at the forefront of the debate over what to do with Confederate monuments as one of three southern states with the most statues, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. A state tally shows Confederate monuments are located at contemporary or historic courthouses in about half of the state's counties.

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