Fame Preservation Group raises $1,395 in first fundraiser

Published 12:06 am Sunday, March 20, 2022

CHINA GROVE — A local group dedicated to preserving the Confederate monument removed from downtown Salisbury in 2020 held its first fundraiser on March 12.

It took a year for “Fame” to be moved to its current site at a historic cemetery on North Lee Street. The cemetery has graves of Confederate soldiers.

The statue stood at the intersection of Church and West Innes streets for more than 100 years until Salisbury City Council named the statue as a public safety issue.

A hinge point in that decision occurred after Jeffrey Long, a man from Kernersville, fired a gun during a peaceful protest downtown on May 31. City Council struck a deal with the United Daughters of the Confederacy Robert F. Hoke Chapter to move the statue shortly after. It is fenced in and monitored by security cameras at the new location.

The Fame Preservation Group is active on Facebook, mostly posting updates on the monument and bits of Confederate history.

The fundraiser was held at the Cress Barn in China Grove and group founder Gregory Lambeth said the official headcount for the event was 62 people.

“For a first-time event, that was great,” Lambeth said.

The fundraiser format was a cake walk and speakers were asked to bring cakes to be auctioned.

There were 11 speakers in total including six political candidate speeches. The candidates were N.C. House candidate Grayson Haff, Rowan County commissioner candidate Angie Spillman, Rowan County district attorney candidate Paxton Butler, Paul Hoben standing in for his wife, Rowan County judge candidate Lauren Hoben, judge candidate Cynthia Dry and Rowan County sheriff candidate Brad Potts.

Lambeth said sheriff candidate and Rowan County Commissioner Mike Caskey was not able to attend but donated a cake and sheriff candidate Greg Hannold attended but had to leave early and donated two cakes as well.

The group credits Spillman for donating food and security.

Lambeth said the money raised and the cash the organization already has on hand could go to a number of programs, including cleaning supplies for headstones, historical markers, individual research and tourism efforts at the cemetery.

He told the Post the organization is not connected to racially-driven groups and wants to focus on education about facts like the rationale behind the original location the UDC chose for “Fame” and the nearly 200 Confederate soldiers buried in the monument’s current location.

Lambeth said the group is considering hosting barbecue fundraiser in the future and possibly holding events in the lower portion of the cemetery where there are no graves.

In 2021, Historic Salisbury Foundation received a parcel donated anonymously to provide parking next to the cemetery.

Lambeth said the group has discussed a Confederate memorial park, but that project is not currently in the works and would be a long-term goal.

Elite Freedom Shooters, a firearms club, provided security.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misstated Gregory Lambeth’s first name as George. We apologize for the error.

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About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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