A North Carolina historical commission voted 10-1 on Wednesday to keep three Confederate monuments on state Capitol grounds. They voted to add context about slavery and civil rights and also build a monument honoring the contributions of black North Carolina citizens, according to the Associated Press.
This decision comes less than two days after the ‘Silent Sam’ rebel statue was toppled by protesters at UNC’s Chapel Hill campus Monday night and also after NC Governor Roy Cooper called for the Confederate statues to be removed from public property. On Wednesday Cooper said “we can document and learn from our history without idolizing painful symbols,” according to the Associated Press. State law prohibits the removal or relocation of such monuments.
Commission member Samuel Dixon said that the 2015 law limited what the commission could do. “I believe the monuments need to tell the truth and based upon the law that we have today I do not think we can move them,” said Dixon, an Edenton lawyer. “But I think we can … tell a better story and tell a full an inclusive story.” Dixon voted with the majority.
There has been controversy over Confederate statues in the U.S. since the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia Unite The Right rally a year ago in which violence ensued over the city’s plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Multiple 20th-century statues have been vandalized and/or defaced throughout North Carolina in the past few months.