Kenneth L. Hardin: Can we please let the Fame statue go?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 16, 2022

Going down memory lane is great, but some people act like their car is broken down there and they don’t have AAA to tow themselves back to reality. I’m all for ensuring one’s history and heritage is valued and protected, but I refuse to support any history born from the subjugation of another, and that infringes upon a people’s right to humanity.

Although I’ve been a professional writer for two decades and a member of a national journalism organization for three years, I don’t care much for broadcast news. Gone are the days when you could watch a news segment and feel informed. Now, you watch TV news personalities offering their opinions in what should be objective stories. I’ve resigned myself to only tuning in for the first opening minute, and then turn back at 20 minutes after the hour to catch the weather.

People who truly know me, know my tolerance limitations on idiocy, so I appreciated the message that accompanied the video clip texted to me of the CNN story about the statue: “Have you seen this? I know you don’t care about the statue…”

And you are correct ma’am. I couldn’t muster enough saliva in my mouth to spit out how irritated I am about more attention being given to it. I clicked on the video and watched white citizens not realizing they were being made to look like the worst caricatures this side of the Beverly Hillbillies. They sounded ridiculous in their attempted defense of this symbol that has added to the racial animus and division here. I won’t even try to understand why people feel the need to publicly display symbols linked to oppression for one demographic of people while trying to pass it off as their heritage. I’ll bet you a moon pie, a Cheerwine soda and a BBQ sandwich that if you were to walk down any road in Germany today, you won’t find one statue of Hitler, the Nazi flag, or people openly protesting to preserve and remember that dark period in their history.

The longevity circus surrounding the location of the Fame statue is about as annoying and unneeded as another movie about Marilyn Monroe and Elvis. Why can’t some things just be allowed to wither away fondly? Confederate statues were not erected as a tribute to those treasonous and traitorous ones who fought a Civil War.  It was done to keep people of color in forced brutal servitude while hoping to extending the luxury, privileges and benefits of free labor.  They were placed at courthouses and other high visibility areas as intimidators and reminders to newly freed slaves that people continued to believe in business as usual.  They were first created during the Jim Crow era in the 1890s, decades after the war. That hate inspired thinking is what I still  hear today when I see people trying to defend the indefensible. There should be no weeping or angered words as there are still 2,089 Confederate memorials throughout this country. The Tar Heel state is in fourth place among those with the most

As I sat watching the clip trying not to regurgitate my dinner, I asked myself if the statue has been gone for a minute now, why are we still talking about it? I’ve lived here my entire life and couldn’t tell you one word that’s inscribed on it. Why are we not focusing on the gun violence, murders, drug overdoses, lack of equity in the distribution of resources and the obvious racial division here? Former NBA player Allen Iverson’s rant from 22 years ago came to mind as he uttered the word “practice” 22 times when he was questioned about his commitment. I uttered the word “statue” in disbelief that same number of times.

This story is nothing but a distraction to keep us from focusing on the failures of city leadership. As a Councilman, I would’ve never sat for that interview. What did it accomplish? How did it bring any attention to or improve any of the major problems this city is currently facing. I wish our Black leadership, including the interviewed Councilman, would speak as publicly about the disparity in the appearance of our community versus others, where the resources are, why are dilapidated, and boarded up houses been allowed to stand for years, the lack of financial resources for communities of color, the racial hate and animus, our failing education system, the lack of diversity in city leadership roles, discriminatory housing and so much more than a statue.

Does anyone else wonder with all the statues being removed across this country, why Salisbury was the focus of an international news agency?  To all the folks in the pointless story, you got hoodwinked and bamboozled.  Let that statue go and focus on the real issues impacting our city.

Kenneth L. (Kenny) Hardin can be reached at