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

    Josephus Daniels Monument, Raleigh

  • Type

    Sculpture

  • Subjects

    Historic Political Figures

    Historic Civic Figures

    Removed Monuments

  • Creator

    Janos Farkas, Sculptor

  • City

    Raleigh

  • County

    Wake

  • Description

    This metal statue is larger-than-life 8-feet-tall and rests on a 4-foot-tall base. Daniels is depicted wearing a long tail coat and trousers with a hat in one hand; his other arm extends towards the sky. Below the standing figure of Daniels is a pedestal which contains a plaque to commemorate Daniels' life.

    Images: On June 16, 2020, the family of Josephus Daniels removed the statue from Raleigh’s Nash Square.

  • Inscription

    Front: JOSEPHUS DANIELS / EDITOR, AUTHOR, PUBLIC OFFICIAL / SON OF / JOSEPHUS DANIELS AND MARY CLEAVES SEABROOK / BORN IN WASHINGTON, NC / MAY 18, 1862 / MARRIED TO ADDIE WORTH BAGLEY OF RALEIGH / MAY 2, 1888 / DIED IN RALEIGH, NC / JANUARY 15, 1948 / EDITOR, WILSON ADVANCE / 1880-1885 / OWNER AND EDITOR, THE NEWS AND OBSERVER / 1894-1948 / SECRETARY OF THE NAVY / 1913-1921 / AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO / 1933-1942 / TRUSTEE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA / 1901-1948

  • Custodian

    City of Raleigh

  • Dedication Date

    September 24, 1985

  • Decade

    1980s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.777830 , -78.642350 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Dedication Ceremony for the Unveiling of the Statue of Josephus Daniels", (Raleigh, NC, Josephus Daniels Charitable Foundation, 1985)

      "JOSEPHUS DANIELS, May 18, 1862 - January 15, 1948," NCpedia.org, (accessed December 12, 2019) Link

      "Josephus Daniels, (sculpture)," Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museum, SIRIS, sirismm.si.edu, (accessed December 14, 2011) Link

      "Josephus Daniels, Governor Locke Craig, Edward Kidder Graham, and others at the University of North Carolina," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, (accessed May 14, 2013) Link

      "Josephus Daniels; Editor, Author, Public Official," Waymarking.com, (accessed December 15, 2011) Link

      "Statue of White Supremacist Josephus Daniels Removed from Raleigh's Nash Square," abc11.com, June 16, 2020, (accessed August 6, 2020) Link

      Hunt, James L. 2006. “Red Shirts,” NCPedia.org, (accessed July 28, 2020) Link

      Josephus Daniels Charitable Foundation. Dedication Ceremony for the Unveiling of the Statue of Josephus Daniels : September 24, 1985, Nash Square, Raleigh, North Carolina, (Raleigh, NC: Josephus Daniels Charitable Foundation, 1985), in the North Carolina Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

      Laibe, Constance. "Statue Unveiled in Nash Square," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), September 25, 1985

      Quillin, Martha. “Statue of Josephus Daniels, Publisher and White Supremacist, Removed From Raleigh Square,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), June 16, 2020, (accessed July 27, 2020) Link

      “Josephus Daniels Historical Marker Removal,” www.wilsonnc.org, June 24, 2020, (accessed July 28, 2020) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    The statue is constructed of metal atop a granite base and placed on a concrete foundation.

  • Sponsors

    Josephus Daniels Charitable Foundation

  • Subject Notes

    Daniels was well known in North Carolina for his position as editor of The News and Observer from 1894 to 1948. At the national level, he became a well-known statesman after he served two government jobs; he was the Secretary of the Navy from 1913 to 1921 and served as the ambassador to Mexico from 1933 to 1942.

    Daniels is also known for his role in the 1898 coup d’état in Wilmington in which prominent white citizens overthrew the legally elected biracial government of the city. Daniels, using the power of his newspaper, ran race-baiting editorials and cartoons and fabricated news stories to generate anger toward blacks. On Nov. 10, 1898, the coup saw more than 2,000 heavily armed “Red Shirts,” a terrorist arm of the 19th-century Democratic Party, descend on Wilmington. Elected officials were forced to resign at gun point. A black-owned newspaper and other black-owned business were set on fire. It’s estimated that at least 60 black men were killed during the takeover.

  • 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.

    The family of Josephus Daniels removed a statue of him from Raleigh’s Nash Square on June 16, 2020. The statue had received little attention during the unrest following George Floyd’s death and the family had been under no pressure from the city or activists to remove it despite Daniels having been an influential lifelong white supremacist. “The time is right,” said Frank Daniels III, a former executive editor of The N&O who was present to watch the removal of the monument to his great-grandfather. “I don’t think anyone would say that it’s not the appropriate time to move the statue of Josephus to a more appropriate location.” Frank Daniels Jr. retired president and publisher of The News & Observer, released a statement saying in part that “Josephus Daniels’s legacy of service to North Carolina and our country does not transcend his reprehensible stand on race and his active support of racist activities. In the 75 years since his death, The N&O and our family have been a progressive voice for equality for all North Carolinians, and we recognize this statue undermines those efforts.”

    Also of note was that the Wake County school board voted on June 16 to change the name of Daniels Middle School to Oberlin Middle School in honor of the Oberlin community that had been founded by former slaves. The decision of the Daniels family to remove the statue also led directly to his hometown of Washington, NC removing a historical marker in his honor that had only been placed in 2016. Washington City Manager Grant Goings said, “The family’s statement was clear, and the right thing to do was remove the marker as soon as possible.”

  • Location

    On June 16, 2020 the statue and base were removed from the far right corner of Nash Square near the corner of West Hargett Street and South McDowell Street in Raleigh, NC by workers from Carolina Stone Setting of Morrisville, NC. The Daniels family planned to keep the statue in storage until it could be displayed on private property.

  • Removed

    Yes

  • Former Locations

    Until its removal on June 16, 2020, the monument was located in the far right corner of Nash Square near the corner of West Hargett Street and South McDowell Street, Raleigh, NC. There were a few bushes and a medium size tree near the monument. The monument itself stood on the side of the walkway.

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