Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
The groups lassoed the bronze soldier to the ground.
Protesters in Durham are not having it.
On Monday evening, dozens convened on Main Street and with laughable ease, lassoed down a 15-foot tall Bronze statue of a Confederate soldier that’s been standing in front of Old Durham County Courthouse since 1924.
Before and after pictures of the confederate monument outside the old Durham County courthouse. pic.twitter.com/6fZdBShCnr— Derrick Lewis (@DerrickQLewis) August 15, 2017
The purpose of the “emergency” protest in Durham, organized by anti-racist and anti-fascist groups, was to show solidarity with Charlottesville, Virginia—a city sprinkled with symbols of the Confederacy—where Neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups descended over the weekend for a “Unite The Right” demonstration. Violence erupted between attendees—(many of whom were armed with guns)—and counter-protesters. And an Ohio man named James A. Fields Jr. has been charged for ramming his car into a crowd in Charlottesville, killing one woman and injuring many.
According to the The News & Observer, the organizers of the Durham protest want to topple this—and all other Confederate monuments—so that “no more innocent people have to be killed.”
Durham police said in a statement they would not be making arrests: "Because this incident occurred on county property, where county law enforcement officials were staffed, no arrests were made by DPD officers."
The call to tear down monuments that glorify the Confederacy are getting louder as they spread from city to city. In New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu recently ordered three to be taken down, because they were originally erected “to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city,” he said. The statue of Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park, which was thronged by white nationalists this weekend, is also due to be removed. A North Carolina law, signed by former Governor Pat McCrory, makes it harder for local governments to remove historical monuments in the state. But from today’s events in Durham, it seems that the future of these structures is on shaky grounds nonetheless.