REIDSVILLE, N.C. – On Wednesday, a group of protesters stood up for a statue that once stood for Confederate history.
Protesters want the century-old marble Confederate soldier placed back in the middle of town, but lawsuits threaten that plan.
Protest organizer Diane Parnell organized the group of 15 to 20 who stood at the intersection of Scales and Morehead in downtown Reidsville with signs that read “Put him back!” and “We’ll stand if he can’t.”
“This is rights slowly being taken away and the future being scrubbed up and put out as to how it should be, or how other people think that it should be,” Parnell said.
A driver toppled the 101-year-old statue on May 23, 2011. The man told police that he had fallen asleep at the wheel. Since then, the statue has remained in pieces at the Redisville Public Works building under lock and key.
The statue’s ownership is a matter of debate and a matter for the courts.
An insurance company paid the United Daughters of the Confederacy, but Rockingham County’s Historical Preservation Action Committee filed a lawsuit claiming that the statue does not belong to UDC, as it was a gift to the city back in 1910.
A temporary restraining order seeks to stop UDC from using its insurance money to build another statue, which the group would then place in a cemetery in Reidsville with other Confederate monuments.
“It means something to me today. I want that monument (in the center of town) for the soldiers that died, with the 629 from Rockingham County,” Parnell said.
Even if HPAC were declared the owner and beneficiary of the insurance money, another lawsuit has to be decided in order to allow the statue or any other to go back up where a large flower pot now stands at the town’s traffic circle.
Parnell and her supporters believe everything should be as it was before the accident.
“The right thing to do (when) you have an accident (is) to fix it. This hasn’t been fixed and the people of Reidsville are tired of being walked over,” Parnell said.
A Surry County judge will rule on the temporary restraining order Friday.
There is not yet a court date for the lawsuit involving the City of Reidsville.