George Davis Monument, Wilmington
The bronze 8-foot tall cast sculpture of George Davis is mounted atop a granite base. Davis, Confederate Senator and Attorney General from 1820-1896, stands upright and raises his right hand in the air while resting his left hand atop a decorated pedestal. The base, weighing five and a half tons, features gilded seals of both North Carolina and the Confederate states.
Images: West side inscription | East side inscription
On June 25, 2020 bronze statues of the Wilmington Confederate Monument and George Davis Monument were removed and the base and signage for both monuments were covered in black shrouds.
West face: GEORGE DAVIS / SENATOR AND ATTORNEY GENERAL / OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA / 1820 - 1896
South face: SCHOLAR / PATRIOT / STATESMAN / CHRISTIAN
East face: HIS WISDOM ILLUSTRATED THE / PRINCIPLES OF LAW AND EQUITY. / HIS ELOQUENCE COMMANDED / THE ADMIRATION OF HIS PEERS. / BELOVED FOR HIS STAINLESS / INTEGRITY, HIS MEMORY DWELLS / IN THE HEARTS OF HIS PEOPLE. / SHINING IN THE PURE EXCELLENCE / OF VIRTUE AND REFINEMENT, / HE EXEMPLIFIED, WITH DIGNITY / AND SIMPLICITY, WITH GENTLE / COURTESY AND CHRISTIAN FAITH, / THE TRUE HEART OF CHIVALRY / IN SOUTHERN MANHOOD.
North face: ERECTED / IN LOVING MEMORY / BY / THE UNITED DAUGHTERS / OF THE CONFEDERACY
April 20, 1911
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Ingram, Hunter. “A Wilmington Lawyer Said She Is Not Convinced the Law Says the City Has to Put the Monuments Back Up,” Star News (Wilmington, NC), July 27, 2020, (accessed August 2, 2020) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Eighteenth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy North Carolina Division, Held at Raleigh, North Carolina, October 14, 15, 16, 1914 (Goldsboro, N.C.: Nash Bros. Printers and Binders, 1914), 103, (accessed September 7, 2012) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Eleventh Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division, Held at Greensboro, N.C., October 9th, 10th, and 11th, 1907, (Newton, NC: Enterprise Job Print., 1907), 54, (accessed August 30, 2012) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Tenth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division, Held at Durham, N.C., October 10th, 11th and 12th 1906, (Newton, NC: Enterprise Job Print., 1907), 48-50, (accessed May 23, 2012) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, Pamlico Chapter No. 43. The Confederate Reveille: Memorial Edition, (Raleigh, NC: Edwards & Broughton, 1898), (accessed May 24, 2012) Link
Bronze statue, granite base
The United Daughters of the Confederacy (Cape Fear Chapter 3)
The statue of George Davis was unveiled on April 20, 1911 by four of the man's grandsons: M.F. H. Gouverneur, Jr., Donald McRae, Jr., George Rountree, and Robert Cowan Davis. Henry G. Connor, Judge of the United States Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, delivered the dedication speech. The Delgado Band was hired for twenty-five dollars to provide musical accompaniment to the dedication ceremony.
George Davis was born in 1820 in Wilmington, NC and later attended the University of North Carolina, where he was valedictorian. He studied law and served in the Confederate army as a delegate. Jefferson Davis elected him Attorney General in 1864, a position in which he served until the end of the war. He was captured and imprisoned by the US army in 1865 but was pardoned. Davis returned to Wilmington in 1866 and lived there until his death on February 23, 1896.
Following the massacre of nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015 by white supremacist Dylann Roof, Americans, especially southerners, have reflected on and argued over the historical legacy of slavery, the Civil War, the Confederacy, and white supremacy. Monuments have been a particular focus of these debates and controversies, especially after the death of a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 and after President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to the removal of Confederate memorials. Despite laws in many southern states intended to prevent or impede the removal or relocation of historical monuments, protesters and local community leaders have removed or relocated controversial monuments associated with slavery, the Confederacy, and white supremacy. The pace of the removal of controversial monuments accelerated sharply in 2020, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Against the backdrop of protests against police brutality and white supremacy across the nation, local authorities in many communities in North Carolina removed and/or relocated monuments that were the focus of civil unrest.
In the early morning hours of June 25, 2020, Wilmington city officials had the statue of George Davis removed from its base. Two bronze sculptures on the Wilmington Confederate Monument were removed at the same time. A city official described the move as temporary and in compliance with North Carolina law. Given the protests in Wilmington after the George Floyd's killing the city spokesperson said the monuments had become a threat to public safety. They were moved to an undisclosed location. The base and signage for both monuments were not removed but later covered in black shrouds.
The bronze statue has been removed from its base on June 25, 2020. The statue base remains but is covered with a dark shroud. The statue was being stored by the City of Wilmington at an undisclosed location.
Until its removal on June 25, 2020 the statue stood in the median at the intersection of Market Street (US 17) and North 3rd Street, Wilmingron, NC.
George Davis' birthday was celebrated at the monument in 1993 by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Davis was again honored two years later by his descendents in a monument ceremony. In 2000, traffic damage to the monument led to its repair and reinstallation.
The initial idea for this monument was conceived by the Cape Fear Chapter 3 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1901. The group began raising funds in 1904. The cornerstone of the monument was laid on October 14, 1909 but the monument was not unveiled until April 20, 1911.