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After 111 years, Salisbury Confederate monument “Fame” moved

WBTV Charlotte logo WBTV Charlotte 7/7/2020 David Whisenant
"Fame" © City of Salisbury "Fame"

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Following its declaration as a public safety risk by the Salisbury police chief and two unanimous votes by the Salisbury City Council, the Confederate monument on West Innes Street in downtown Salisbury has been removed from where it stood for 111 years.

Crews closed W. Innes Street around 9:30 p.m. Monday to begin the process of moving the Confederate monument, “Fame.” The process took several hours.

Shortly after 11 p.m., the statue was removed from its pedestal where it stood for more than a century.

Fame was loaded onto a flatbed truck as crews worked to finish removing the base. The statue is expected to remain in storage until it is moved to the Old Lutheran Cemetery.

A small group of people stood along the streets as crews performed the removal. Several people cheered.

Road closures and related detours near Innes Street began around 9:30 p.m. The traffic advisory is as follows:

Innes Street, between Lee and Fulton Streets, will be closed overnight, Monday, July 6, from 9:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., with detours in place. Westbound traffic on Innes Street will detour along Council Street, while eastbound traffic on Innes Street will detour along Fisher Street. Similarly, Main, Church and Jackson Streets will be closed from Council to Fisher Streets during the same period. Motorists should use available detours or seek other alternate routes.

Due to the safety of the work crews, the construction area is off limits to pedestrians.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy, (UDC), custodians of Fame, signed an agreement last month to relocate the monument. City Council previously approved two resolutions on June 16 to move the monument.

Salisbury City Council approved the resolution to declare the statue a public safety hazard, giving the city the power to remove the statue. In a second resolution, council voted to give the UDC 10 days to sign the agreement and move the statue out of the median in downtown Salisbury to the Old Lutheran Cemetery.

Both resolutions were approved unanimously after hours of discussion and public comments.

The statue has been the site of recent incidents of vandalism and civil unrest.

On Sunday, May 31, a man fired two shots in the air after confronting protesters near the base of the statue.

That man, Jeffrey Long, was charged with inciting a riot, among other charges.

The next night there was another demonstration near Fame.

Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd. One man in the crowd threw a rock through a window of The Salisbury Post/United Way building.

Harvey Lee McCorkle, III, was charged with inciting a riot.

The history of Fame goes back to 1901 when members of the Robert F. Hoke Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy began collecting money to “raise a monument for the Rowan veterans.”

The monument cost $11,500.

Fame is also known as “Gloria Victus,” and was created by a French-born American sculptor named Frederick Wellington Ruckstull. The sculpture was cast in Brussels in 1891.

A nearly identical twin sculpture, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, was removed from public display in Baltimore, MD, in 2017 following violence that erupted during a white nationalist rally. That sculpture is currently in storage.

The base is made of pink granite that came from the Balfour mine in Granite Quarry.

Fame was dedicated during a special ceremony on Confederate Memorial Day, May 10, 1909. Among the guests in attendance were 162 Confederate veterans, and Anna Morrison Jackson, the widow of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.

During the dedication, Bennett H. Young, a former Lieutenant in the Confederate Army who once led a raid on the small town of St. Albans, Vermont, said that the Confederacy was “defeated, not because they were wrong or unfaithful in any aspect whatever, but because an overruling Providence decreed their downfall...” He also said, “Of one thing my friends, we of the South are absolute sure... that... no misrepresentation of facts, no perversion of truth, no falsely written history tortured to meet partisan bias and prejudice, can deprive us before the bar of public justice... for the superb and magnificent contest they waged for a great principal. The sword does not always decide the right. We failed and yet we know we stood for truth.”

The figure of the soldier being held by Fame was based on an 1861 photograph of Confederate Lt. Henry Howe Cook of Franklin, Tennessee.

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