State Sued Over Controversial New Slave Monument

Photo by British Library on Unsplash

( – Residents of Tyrrell County in North Carolina are suing the county in federal court to remove a Confederate monument thanking “faithful slaves” and celebrating the Confederacy.

The Concerned Citizens of Tyrell County, a Black community organizing group, claimed the Confederate Memorial in Tyrell County violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause given its racist language.

The over 20-foot-tall monument featuring a Confederate soldier stands atop a pedestal in front of the county courthouse.

The lawsuit filed last week suggests that the monument “on behalf of local government” communicates the notion that “Black people… enslaved in Tyrell County” had preferred “slavery to freedom,” adding that the monument also conveys “the idea that Tyrrell’s institutions” believe the “rightful place” of Black people in the county as being subservient.

The monument at the center of the lawsuit was erected in 1902 and was gifted to the county by a local former Confederate officer. The monument commemorates the “patriotic sons” who fought and died for the Confederacy, adding its “appreciation of our faithful slaves.”

For years, the group has led a protest campaign against the monument, claiming the monument in front of the courthouse is the only one in the county expressing “a racially discriminatory message.”

Members of Concerned Citizens have also claimed they’ve faced intimidation and harassment as a result of their actions to have the monument removed. One of the plaintiffs has alleged a man attempted to run her off the road because of her advocacy.

The lawsuit comes up against a North Carolina law passed in 2015 that prevents local governments from removing Confederate monuments. However, the Concerned Citizens claim the law only applies to monuments owned by the state and not the county.

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