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Work crews remove, relocate Winston-Salem Confederate monument

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Confederate monument at the corner of Liberty and Fourth streets in Winston-Salem has been relocated.

Crews arrived at the corner early Tuesday morning after the block surrounding the monument was blocked off. Workers from Guy M Turner, Inc worked for hours to carefully remove the soldier from the top of the monument, then lift it off and place it onto a back of a truck before securing it and driving it off.

“I wasn’t super optimistic that it would actually ever get taken down,” said Chris Lutz, of Hate Out of Winston.

City officials say workers who had surveyed the site about two weeks before the statue’s relocation were joined by two preservationists, who had experience in how to properly disassemble monuments of its kind.

Mayor Allen Joines says the monument was comprised of nine sections.

“We’re out here to respect for our fallen soldiers,” said Michael Riggles, who opposed the relocation of the monument. “We’re not here because of this monument being a symbol of hate. We’re here because these were our fallen fathers.”

By about 3 p.m., the final section of the monument was lifted from the ground.

“You can’t erase history,” Riggles said, shortly before the first section was removed. “You can’t erase history.”

After the monument was moved from the corner, where it had stood since 1905, it was driven to Guilford County for temporary safekeeping. FOX8 crews captured the journey but are not releasing its whereabouts for security purposes.

Joines says they will begin preparing a site at Salem Cemetery, where there are 36 Confederate graves, to move the monument there.

Joines believes that process will take about two months.

“Which I think is a fine place for it, just not out in the city square here,” said Matthew Brovold, who works downtown.

Following the statue’s relocation, a celebration was held by Hate Out of Winston. About two-dozen people attended.

A city official tells FOX8 the contract for removal and storage of the monument was not to exceed $50,000. It is unknown if the cost reached that maximum.

That figure would not include the city’s cost for services such as police supervision, setting up and taking down the fences and barricades, and any additional costs.

“The monument shouldn’t be moved. Period,” Riggles said. “Mamas, fathers had lost their kids in a battle.”

An attorney for the United Daughters of the Confederacy says “in the opinion of UDC, the City is acting contrary to the law. The City has manufacture this controversy. The Forsyth County Commission has identified the Monument as a 'public monument' As such, the UDC's position is that the Monument is a public monument owned by the State of North Carolina by and through its political sub-division, Forsyth County. Therefore, NCGS § 100-2.1. Protection of monuments, memorials, and works of art, applies, applies to the Monument, thus, the City has no lawful authority to move the Monument.”

In the event the city has violated the law, the UDC will ask the court to order the city to return the monument to the Fourth and Liberty site.

For more information on the timeline leading to the relocation of the monument, click here.

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