NORTH CAROLINA: Lexington Confederate Monument Moved At Night

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. — A Confederate statue was removed overnight in Lexington, police confirmed Friday.

Penny Burkhart, a Lexington resident, told WXII 12 News that the public was unable to view the removal of the monument, as roads surrounding the statue were blocked.

“However, we did stand down the street to see what we could see,” Burkhart said.

Burkhart said the removal process started around 11:30 p.m. Thursday and the statue was down completely by 4 a.m. Friday.

“I am not aware of the storage location,” Mayor Newell Clark said. ” I didn’t want to know.”

Clark said he requested to stay out of the details of the removal, but stressed this is bigger than a relocation project; he wants to see a season of healing begin.

“But, as of today, there is a new history that I am extremely excited about not only for our city but for our Triad region in general, that they can see Lexington as being inclusive, understanding of all our citizens and their needs,” Clark said to WXII 12 News in a one-on-one interview.

He said the UDC and Lexington now have an amicable partnership, and the initial plan is to repurpose the monument on private property outside of the city limits.

Veteran Kenneth Cupp gave his last salute before it was removed, according to resident Burkhart.

Before court proceedings involving the Confederate statue’s movement Thursday, Clark tweeted a statement that the city “will continue working with the appropriate parties to plan for the safe and respectful removal of the monument.”

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In a public statement Thursday, the City of Lexington said in part, “…we are encouraged by Davidson County’s most recent statement in regards to the Confederate Monument.”

The Davidson County Board of Commissioners released a statement Wednesday after the City of Lexington and the Robert E. Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy agreed to relocate it.

flowers in monument
Penny Burkhart

The board said the Confederate memorial in Lexington should remain in its current position as a tribute to the men who lost their lives in the war.

This comes after the city and the group agreed that the memorial would be relocated. Lexington said it would pay for the cost of removing and storing the memorial. The agreement was made without the knowledge or consent of Davidson County.

The agreement is also a reversal of the former position of the UDC.

Lexington granted permission for UDC to “erect a monument on the public square in the town of Lexington to the memory of our Confederate dead” in 1902, according to the statement by Davidson County. The memorial was moved to Davidson County property in 1950, but there has never been any legal agreement between UDC and Davidson County for the placement of the monument.

“The Confederate Memorial in Lexington should be retained in its current location, as a memorial and tribute to the Davidson County men who lost their lives during the Civil War,” the Davidson County Board of Commissioners said. “The law that limits the relocation of memorials, however, provides that the UDC, as owner of the memorial, can determine the proper placement for its memorial. The owner of the memorial- the United Daughters of the Confederacy- has now decided that it wants to move the memorial to a different location.”