Confederate Soldiers Monument, Durham
An armed and uniformed soldier stood atop a granite tower adorned with the Confederate seal. On the base of the monument are four stone cannon balls and two lighted lamps. In total the monument stood approximately fifteen feet high.
On August 14, 2017, the Confederate Soldier statue was pulled from its base and badly damaged during a protest in response to violence and the death of a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia several days earlier.
Images: Front View | Top View | Inscription |
Confederate Soldier statue removed (2017) |
Side view of the removed Confederate Soldier statue (2017)
Front: IN MEMORY OF / “THE BOYS WHO / WORE THE GRAY”
Left: DEDICATED MAY 10TH, 1924
Right: THIS MEMORIAL / ERECTED BY / THE PEOPLE OF / DURHAM COUNTY.
May 10, 1924
35.993950 , -78.899020 View in Geobrowse
"Durham County Confederate Memorial," Waymarking.com, (accessed April 23, 2012) Link
Bonner, Lynn. “3 Years After Protesters Took Down a Durham Confederate Statue, Its Base Is Hauled Away,” The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), August 11, 2020, (accessed August 21, 2020) Link
Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments, an Illustrated History, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013), 151-152, 196-197, 223
City-County Committee on Confederate Monuments and Memorials. "Final Report of the Durham City-County Committee on Confederate Monuments and Memorials Presented to the City Council and County Commission on January 8, 2019", www.dconc.gov, (accessed January 17, 2019) Link
Eanes, Zachery. “Durham Confederate Statue: Tribute to Dying Veterans or Political Tool of Jim Crow South?” The News & Observer, www.newsobserver.com, (Raleigh, NC), August 16, 2017 Link
Jenkins, Nash. “A Confederate Statue Is Gone, but the Fight Remains in Durham,” Time, time.com, (New York, NY), August 15, 2017, (accessed August 17, 2017) Link
Katz, Jonathan M. "Protester Arrested in Toppling of Confederate Statue in Durham," The New York Times (N.Y, N.Y.), Aug. 15, 2017, (accessed July 14, 2020) Link
Queen, Louise L. 1979. “Carr, Julian Shakespeare,” NCPedia.org, (accessed August 17, 2017) Link
Tapper, Jake. "Battle over Confederate Monuments Rages," www.cnn.com, August 16, 2017, (accessed August 18, 2017) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Held at Greensboro, North Carolina, October 4-6, 1923 (Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1924), 143, (accessed September 15, 2012) Link
“Confederate Veterans Adopt Bill with Monument in View,” Durham Morning Herald (Durham, NC), December 31, 1922
“Confederate Vets Want a Monument,” Durham Morning Herald (Durham, NC), August 26, 1922
“Durham Honors Heroic Dead,” The Norlina Headlight, (Norlina, NC), May 16, 1924
“Gen. Julian Carr Says He Opposes Cheap Monument,” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), April 4, 1923
“General Carr May yet Win Out in Monument Matter,” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), April 11, 1923
Granite tower, bronze statue
R.F. Webb Camp United Confederate Veterans, Julian S. Carr Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy, Citizens of Durham County
World War I veteran, General Albert L. Cox of Raleigh, was the principal speaker at the unveiling ceremony. He told those gathered inside the packed courthouse decorated with Confederate flags they should “pause and reflect” upon what the Confederated soldiers had done for them whenever they passed the monument. Those in attendance also included more than 60 uniformed Confederate veterans from Hillsboro, Chapel Hill, Durham and even Virginia. Mrs. Jenn’e Webb Crabtree the aged sister of late Colonel R.H. Webb pulled the cord to unveil the statue.
The statue was sold by the McNeel Marble Company from Marietta, Georgia, which produced many other Confederate statues and sold them all over the South, including
Macon County Confederate Monument in Franklin,
Pasquotank County Confederate Monument in Elizabeth City,
Confederate Soldiers Monument in Hertford, Perquimans county,
Alamance County Confederate Monument in Graham.
Efforts to erect a Confederate Memorial in Durham were led by the R.F. Webb Camp of United Confederate Veterans and Julian S. Carr Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). Typically, funding was by “local subscription,” holding fundraisers and support from local municipalities. In this case the sponsors appealed to the state legislature for $5,000 to be raised by a one half of one percent increase of all money “raised by taxation from all sources" for a one-year period. “General” Julian Carr for whom the sponsoring UDC chapter was named was asked to lead a commission to oversee the project which led to a controversy over the amount to be raised. Carr thought the amount should be $15,000 and he resigned in protest from the commission in April 1923 after not convincing Durham County Commissioners to ask the legislature to authorize the larger amount. In resigning he said it would be “a disgrace” for a county as wealthy as Durham to erect a cheap monument. News reports indicated local politicians “foresaw danger” in asking for the larger amount. After Carr resigned, the UDC chapter attempted without success to get the amount increased or find other funding. These efforts appear to have been unsuccessful as the monument placed was a relatively inexpensive mass produced model from the McNeel Marble Company.
Carr was a wealthy industrialist and his rank of “General” was honorary given by the United Confederate Veterans in North Carolina for his support of their causes. During the Civil War, he served as a private. He died on April 29, 1924 and was buried on May 5, 1924, five days before the Durham Confederate Soldiers Monument was dedicated. Carr was given a “touching tribute” before the monuments unveiling. He is also known for his racist views and support of the Ku Klux Klan. At the 1913 dedication of the Confederate Monument at Chapel Hill his speech recounted the heroic efforts of the men the monument honored as well as the women on the home front, but he also related that “100 yards from where we stand, less than 90 days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench, until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady.”
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.
This monument was among several that were vandalized after the death of Heather Heyer. On August 14, 2017, the Confederate Soldier statue was pulled from its base and badly damaged during a protest in response to the events in Charlottesville several days earlier. One of those involved in the Durham protest said they would no longer “accept memorials to people who held slaves.” The damaged statue was taken by Durham police and placed in storage.
In early 2018, the Durham City Council and the Durham County Board of County Commissioners endorsed the creation of a committee on public monuments. The newly formed City-County Committee on Confederate Monuments and Memorials held a series of public meetings to gather feedback from the Durham community about the Confederate monuments and related remnants. The Committee has compiled its findings and recommendations in the Final Report presented to the City Council and County Commission on January 8, 2019.
The monument base had remained for another three years after the statue was toppled until being removed on August 11, 2020 in response to protests related to George Floyd’s death. The city cited public safety and protecting remaining portions of the memorial which were still occasionally painted with graffiti.
The Confederate Soldiers monument was located in front of the Durham County courthouse. There are three memorials on the other side of the main entrance to the Courthouse: the Durham County World War I, World War II, and Korean and Vietnam Wars Monuments. The monument stood in a grass area surrounded by shady trees. On August 14, 2017, protesters pulled down the statue, leaving just the pedestal outside the old Durham County courthouse.