Salisbury Indivisible: City is not powerless over ‘Fame’
This is the text of comments addressed to Salisbury City Council on Tuesday by resident Emily Ford on behalf of the group, Salisbury Indivisible:
Eleven months ago, Salisbury Indivisible came before City Council to request the relocation of “Fame,” the Confederate monument that stands in the heart of our city. Today, after recent KKK activity in a Rowan County neighborhood and the vandalism of “Fame,” as well as the toppling of Confederate monuments in Durham and Chapel Hill, Salisbury Indivisible renews our request.
We are a grassroots movement of 450 people who have come together to advocate for positive change. We do not condone vandalism or violence of any kind. While current state law prohibits the relocation of Confederate monuments on public property under most circumstances, we believe there are steps that Salisbury City Council can take toward the relocation of “Fame.”
City Council should pass a resolution demanding that the N.C. General Assembly return Confederate monuments to local control and allow local elected officials to take steps they believe are necessary to protect their citizens.
City Council should direct the city manager to begin working with the private owner of “Fame” to arrange for its relocation to a private museum or cemetery. The city should file a formal request to move the statue with the North Carolina Historical Commission.
City Council should join or create a coalition of other cities where Confederate monuments stand on prominent, public land — join with other city leaders whose hands are tied by the General Assembly. Work with this coalition to change the law when the veto-proof majority is broken in Raleigh.
“Fame” and other Confederate monuments have become targets of vandals, rallying points for white nationalists, and the focus of other public safety concerns. These monuments occupy prominent, public space that African Americans and other minorities support with their tax dollars.
Taking action to relocate “Fame” will demonstrate that Salisbury is a forward-looking city invested in diversity and respecting the sensibilities of all its residents. This will also distinguish Salisbury as a leader among North Carolina cities struggling against a state law that limits their rightful power to regulate their communities in their residents’ best interests.