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Cornelius News

Unity in Community renews call for removal of Confederate statue

Donald Archer in front of the Confederate Monument

Aug. 4. Despite pastors of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, as well as its regional governing body and the mayor of Cornelius calling for its removal, the Confederate Monument is still out on the front lawn of the historic church on Zion Avenue.

On the 112th anniversary of the dedication of the monument, Unity in Community, a diverse organization committed to achieving racial equity in North Mecklenburg, is once again calling for its removal.

The owners of the monument, which sits on a small patch of property they own in front of the church, have not been heard from in more than a year, according to Mayor Woody Washam, a member of Mt. Zion. Meanwhile, there have been offers to pay for its removal.

Here is Unity in Community’s statement:

August 4th marks the 112th anniversary of the dedication of the Mt. Zion Confederate monument in Cornelius. In the monument’s 1910 dedication, Judge Armistead Burwell spoke of the Confederate soldier being a “defender of slavery” and “of love of race— [his race]—for the protection of purity of the home” and “to protect from taint the Saxon blood that courses in your veins”.

When Confederate monuments remain in public places, they express to all that the community they exist in accepts the message of intimidation and terror that they mean to send.

For generations, the Cornelius monument and many others like it have caused undue and immeasurable pain to our fellow citizens regardless of color or race. This must stop now. We must forge a new path toward the equality of all races, all colors, and all people.

These monuments continue to perpetuate a false legacy of White superiority over Blacks. As of this writing the massacre of ten Black individuals by a self-proclaimed White supremacist in Buffalo, NY is one of the latest examples of our fellow Black citizens being murdered in the name of White supremacy. UiC unequivocally condemns this senseless violence.

As a community we must speak as one voice for justice and racial equity. While UiC recognizes and respects that this specific monument may represent familial honor and memory to a few of our local citizenry, to the majority in our community, its presence reinforces the ideology of White supremacy and affirms beliefs of racial superiority and racial hate.

Ignoring the need to remove this monument is no less than acceptance of the way things were, not the way things can be – the way that most residents would like things to be—just, fair, and welcoming.

Help our country and community move toward a more perfect union, one in which ALL people are treated with respect and dignity. A country that recognizes that all races, all colors, and all people have a seat at the table. A community that makes it clear to all that a monument erected as “a defender of slavery” no longer has a standing in our society.

Please join Unity in Community as we continue to urge the Mt. Zion Monumental Association to work with us to find a solution that will honor ALL of our town residents.


Dan Ahlers photo

Rally at Confederate Monument/Dan Ahlers photography

—For more information on Unity in Community, click here.


8 Responses to “Unity in Community renews call for removal of Confederate statue”

  1. Totally agree with this article. I am also very sad that the Mount Zion church deeded the property that the confederate statue stands on to the monumental association in the year 2019 approximately.

    Posted by Cheryl | August 5, 2022, 4:47 am
  2. Your article says it is on the church lawn, and then it says it is on private property. Which is it?

    Posted by Mary A Sloop | August 5, 2022, 11:44 am
    • The statue is technically on the church lawn, but the fenced in area and the land between the fence and the sidewalk does not belong to the church. (Or the church could have the statue removed)
      That land belongs to the Mount Zion Monument Association, which is not run by the church. The church has repeatedly approached the Association to have the removed, both privately and with a public statement.

      Posted by Deana King | August 12, 2022, 8:35 am
  3. Cheryl, what you are referring to was a boundary clarification. The property was deeded to the Monument Association in 1910, as the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds has shown. The only problem was that they didn’t have our modern scientific surveying equipment back then. They just had rocks and trees and it was not exact. Later, when modern scientific equipment was applied, it became necessary to clarify the boundaries that had been in place since 1910. The church only acquired the property immediately around the monument in 1942, again as the Meck. County Register of Deeds clearly shows.

    Posted by Jonathan Marlowe | August 5, 2022, 11:53 am
  4. America has a history and it shouldn’t be rewritten. The statue is part of history. We don’t have to accept the way things were but that’s just it” the way things WERE “ . We, as citizens of the USA, have come so far and quit trying so hard to change the past and work on our present. If you look around things aren’t going so hot right now.

    Posted by Cissy Trowbridge | August 6, 2022, 9:22 am
  5. Since the owners don’t want to remove it, I wonder if there is a way to turn this monument into a symbol of forward motion, as a tool to teach and learn from history? Taking it down doesn’t erase history, and vandalizing it doesn’t change its original intention from 1910. Can we embrace it, expose it, and rewrite what it means NOW? In 112 years, what has changed for the better? These symbols only hold the power they are given; so take away its power. It reads. “THOUGH MEN DESERVE / THEY MAY NOT WIN SUCCESS / THE BRAVE WILL HONOR THE BRAVE / VANQUISHED NONE THE LESS.” They lost that fight, they did not succeed in their attempt to keep the black community down. The brave are NOT them, or those like them. The brave are the ones who push forward every day to fight a good fight, even if it is to gain an inch at a time, for equality for ALL people.

    Posted by Jennifer Claussner | August 7, 2022, 9:02 pm
  6. Many have lost all respect for any church that actively attacks our revered Christian ancestors who selflessly answered the call of their local government to defend home, family, and nativeland against a deadly invasion. Many have become disillusioned with these church’s irrational, progressive, pandering to the Mao-Marxists and won’t return until things change.

    It’s amazing today’s “woke” cancel-culture are even attacking Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemimah, and inanimate stone historical war memorials! Those who have no respect for our noble dead, have no respect for the living today.

    Notice how George Floyd and most of the racial issues are in non-southern, “Yankee” states over 1,000 miles from the nearest Confederate monument, yet somehow they still manage to place blame and find offense from historic stone war memorials placed long before their birth. Notice how those cities that desecrated and removed their Confederate war memorials just got worse afterwards.

    Many thanks to all those who are helping to maintain, preserve, and defend this beautiful historic war memorial. The majority finds this cancel-culture movement disgusting.

    Posted by John Clanton | August 16, 2022, 2:32 pm

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