Group sues NC county over Confederate monument thanking ‘faithful slaves’

Group sues NC county over Confederate monument thanking ‘faithful slaves’

North Carolina residents sued their county in federal court to remove a Confederate monument that thanks “faithful slaves” and celebrates the Confederacy.

The Concerned Citizens of Tyrrell County, a Black community organizing group, claim the Tyrrell County Confederate Memorial violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment because of its racist language.

The more than 20-foot-tall monument features a Confederate soldier standing atop a tall pedestal in front of the county courthouse.

“Tyrrell County’s monument communicates, on behalf of local government, the idea that Black people who were enslaved in Tyrrell County preferred their slavery to freedom,” reads the lawsuit against the county filed last week, adding that it also communicates “the idea that Tyrrell’s institutions regard Black people’s rightful place as one of subservience and obedience.”

The 1902 monument was erected by the county as a gift from a local former Confederate officer, the suit claims. Its reliefs memorialize the “patriotic sons” who fought and died for the Confederacy and is in “appreciation of our faithful slaves.”

Concerned Citizens has led a protest campaign against the monument for years, claiming the monument is the only one in the country at a courthouse that “expresses a racial discriminatory message.”

Members of the group claim they have faced harassment and intimidation for their efforts to remove the monument, including one of the plaintiffs saying a man attempted to run her off the road due to her advocacy.

The suit comes up against a 2015 North Carolina law that was intended to prevent local government from removing Confederate monuments, though the plaintiffs claim the law only applies to monuments owned by the state government, and not counties.

More than a dozen Confederate monuments have been taken down by local governments within the last five years, the suit claims. Others were also taken down by force, including one toppled by protesters at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has previously supported removing similar Confederate monuments in the state.

The issue has proved divisive nationwide. An attempt to remove a Confederate monument from Arlington National Cemetery faced fierce pushback from GOP members of Congress, though the monument was taken down in December.

The Hill has reached out to the Tyrrell County manager for comment.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.