City of Winston-Salem proposes plaque ‘disassociating’ itself from downtown Confederate monument

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The city of Winston-Salem has a new proposal in the wake of another vandalism of a privately-owned Confederate statue in the city’s downtown.

Police say they responded to a call that the monument had been defaced at 5:24 p.m. Christmas Day.

There, they found that the monument – owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy – had the words “cowards & traitors” written on it in what appeared to be permanent marker.

"I'm not surprised,” said Nancy Graham, whose friend lives in the building next to the monument. “I just think there's so much anger and there's so much hostility today."

The monument is at the corner of Fourth and Liberty streets but is not on public grounds.

This is also not the first time it’s been vandalized. In August of 2017, someone spray-painted the monument, nearly a week after the Charlottesville, VA protests.

"If it's not yours, if it [doesn't] belong to you, don't touch it,” said Nickolas Santiago, who walked by the monument on Wednesday.

Mayor Allen Joines tells FOX8 the city has talked with the United Daughters of the Confederacy about the possibility of moving the monument to Salem Cemetery, where he says there are 36 confederate graves, but the United Daughters of the Confederacy declined.

"That's part of our history, whether we like it - or accept it - or not," said Willie Houser, who took the turn from Liberty Street to Fourth Street Wednesday.

Now, Joines says the city is proposing a plaque which would be adjacent to the monument, “disassociating” the city with the monument. The plaque would be in the public right-of-way.

"These people need to be remembered because it is a part of our history. But, put it in a museum,” Graham said. “You're looking for trouble in today's atmosphere to put it on a street corner."

The monument was erected in 1905.

"It's a piece of history,” Santiago said. “I think there's just only one side of the argument."

There is a camera on a wall directly next to the monument. Police say the suspect is unknown and the investigation is ongoing.