GRAHAM, N.C. – The Southern Poverty Law Center raised a new billboard in support of the North Carolina Commission on Racial & Ethnic Disparities (NC CRED), which supports groups like Alamance Alliance 4 Justice, the Alamance County NAACP, Down Home NC, Engage Alamance, Justice for the Next Generation and Occupy Graham, in their ongoing efforts to remove the Confederate monument in front of the Alamance County courthouse.
The following statement is from SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks:
“As the state that removed the second highest number of Confederate symbols in 2020*, we want to continue supporting North Carolinians in their efforts to remove these symbols of hate from public view. Especially given that protestors such as the Alamance Alliance 4 Justice, the Alamance County NAACP, Down Home NC, Engage Alamance, Justice for the Next Generation and Occupy Graham, to name a few, have been the targets of persecution and prosecution for exercising their first amendment rights.
“The monument that stands in front of the Alamance County courthouse represents far more than heritage for Confederate enthusiasts. The fact that it sits a few yards from the spot where the formerly enslaved Wyatt Outlaw, a veteran of the Union army who was lynched and murdered by a White mob for openly supporting the Black suffrage movement, is no coincidence.
“While all Confederate symbols cite the most cruel and inhumane chapter of American history, this one is particularly egregious and intentional given Mr. Outlaw’s standing as a community leader in Graham. Wyatt Outlaw represented everything those who benefit from White privilege feared a Black person could achieve – a fear manifested through the 152 Confederate symbols that still litter North Carolina’s soil.
“A magnet for neo-Confederate groups, this monument is already a proven public safety risk as well as a waste of taxpayer dollars. By its own admission in the Alamance County Sheriff’s 2020 Annual Report, nearly $750,000 (not including planning or debriefing costs) was spent policing 39 protests and counter protests in order to protect this Jim Crow relic.
“Other North Carolina cities have opted to place public safety ahead of romanticizing idols to white supremacy and catering to heritage groups. Alamance County leaders should follow the will of its citizens and show love for all by removing this oppressive and divisive symbol from public property.”
*Twenty-four Confederate symbols were removed from North Carolina’s public spaces in 2020.
For more information about NC CRED’s advocacy efforts, please visit ncconfederatemonuments.org.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. For more information, visit www.splcenter.org.