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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.