Documenting the American South

Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    William Peace Statue, Raleigh

  • Type


  • Subjects

    Historic Educational Figures

    Historic Philanthropic Figures

    Historic Civic Figures

    Removed Monuments

  • Creator

    Chas Fagan, Charlotte, NC, Sculptor

  • City


  • County


  • Description

    William Pease was depicted as a man in his 80’s. He was seated on a concrete bench, head tilted slightly to the left, holding a book in his left hand that was resting on his left leg. Peace was dressed in a three-piece suit with bow tie and an overcoat. The large bench had room for people to sit next to the statue. The artist, Chas Fagan, rendered Peace as warm, open and inviting in intentional contrast to portraits that showed him as dour and serious. The statue was removed in March 2022 after a university task force revealed that Peace had been a slave owner. The bench remains in place on the brick courtyard. A concrete or stone disk with the dedication inscription was centered in the courtyard in front of the bench.

  • Inscription


  • Custodian

    William Peace University

  • Dedication Date

    March 14, 2007

  • Decade


  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.789710 , -78.637400 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      Frazier, Mrs. S. Davis, 1994, 2021. “Peace, William,”, (accessed January 2, 2024) Link

      Hooley, Danny. “Artist Finds a Time for Peace,” The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), March 11, 2007

      Jaschik, Scott. “William Peace U Confronts History of William Peace,” Inside Higher Ed, March 24, 2022,, (accessed January 18, 2024) Link

      McGee, Noah A. "William Peace University Removes Namesake Statue with Ties to Slavery Changing the name of the university is also not out of the question," The Root,, March 25, 2022, (accessed January 20, 2024) Link

      “William Peace University Removes Statue of Namesake Due to Links to Slavery,” WTVD, (Raleigh, NC), March 22, 2022,, (accessed January 2, 2024) Link

      “William Peace University Shares Findings of Historical Research,” William Peace University,, March 22, 2022, (accessed January 18, 2024) Link

      “William Peace,” Chas Fagan Fine Art, (accessed January 18, 2024) Link

  • Public Site


  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze statue, concrete bench

  • Monument Cost


  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The William Peace statue was unveiled during Founder’s Day activities that marked the 150th anniversary of the college for women.

  • Subject Notes

    William Peace was a Presbyterian and Raleigh businessman who donated $10,000 and land in 1857 to establish Peace Institute (later Peace College) as an all-female seminary. In 2011 the college’s trustees renamed the college as William Peace University and voted to transition to a coeducational institution with the first males enrolling during the 2012-2013 academic year. In March 2022 it was announced that a further name change would be considered in the light of Peace having been a slave owner prior to the Civil War.

  • Controversies

    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 wake of these racial justice protests William Peace University created a task force to study the university’s history. This task force found that the schools founder and benefactor William Peach had owned 51 enslaved people. It was also found that slaves had built the main building on campus which had served as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War. By order of the Board of Trustees the statue of Peace was removed on March 22, 2022. "Today, we are publicly acknowledging those findings. We are making this public acknowledgement because living our values today requires us to reckon with the hard truths of our past," the university said in a statement. The full statement can be read in "William Peace University Shares Findings of Historical Research."

  • Location

    The statue was removed on March 22, 2022. The William Peace University address is 15 E. Peace Street, Raleigh, NC.

  • Removed


  • Former Locations

    The statue before removal was located in front of the main administrative building on the William Peace University campus at 15 E. Peace Street, Raleigh, NC.

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