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Leadership on the Confederate Monument

Leadership on the Confederate Monument

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I was born and raised in Morganton and a graduate of Freedom High School. I have several ancestors engraved on the Confederate Monument including heritage from the Duckworth and Causby lines. My 3rd great-grandfather Thomas Duckworth enlisted with the Confederacy in Morganton, in July 1862. He survived the Civil War and died in 1920, in Morganton. I cannot change who my ancestors are, and I don’t know what their motives were when they fought for the Confederacy. I’m sure they believed they were right. I’m thankful to know my history but now I believe they were wrong.

The motives of the Confederacy and the institution of slavery was wrong, period. In the USA we should not memorialize bad decisions, morals, or institutions. How many monuments in Morganton are there of fallen Tories from the Revolutionary War -- zero, and the Tories were English sympathizers)? The monument in the center of Morganton does more than honor fallen confederate soldiers, it stands for bad decisions and oppression. Many people want to see it destroyed, but I believe the respectful thing to do for the men who died, and their relatives would be to preserve it.

The time to remove the Confederate Monument from the center of Morganton is now. This monument is not inspiring and will never bring peace to our community, it only divides us more. I love Morganton and all it has to offer. We are a diverse community; the center, and heart and soul of a town should be a place for respect and unity. I call upon the leadership of Burke County and Morganton to step up and lead the conversation on where the statue should go. The conversation is no longer about whether the monument should be destroyed, (it should not), or left on the square (it should not), but where these men should be honored and remembered moving forward. This monument is an integral part of the history of this county and we should be able to learn from our mistakes and not repeat history. There is plenty of leeway in the state regulations, numerous other cities in NC have done the right thing. I think it’s a bad excuse if the county and city leaders say we can’t do anything with the monument and citizens should ask their state representatives for help. I implore the leadership of this great county and city to lead!

I have a suggestion to get the conversation started:

Ask W.J. Kincaid’s relatives where they want the Johnny Reb statue placed (the confederate statue on top of the engraved soldiers’ names). Mr. Kincaid donated the statue to the town in 1918, eight years after the monument was placed there by the Daughters of the Confederacy. Coordinate the move of the monument with the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy. Start a fund to pay to have the monument removed and placed at the History Museum of Burke County, I’ll start the fund with $200.

William Russ


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