Durham Confederate monument committee meets days after Silent Sam is toppled

Josh Chapin Image
Friday, August 24, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Just days after Silent Sam came down in Chapel Hill, a Durham committee on Confederate monuments and memorials met.

The meeting wasn't scheduled in response to Silent Sam. Instead, the meeting aimed at determining the future of the statue that was torn down in Durham last year and what to do with the base.

On Thursday, the committee mainly heard from Teresa Roane, a former archivist at the Museum of the Confederacy.

She insists the statue in Durham be put back up and referenced the activists who brought Silent Sam down on Monday

"The people who were part of the Civil Rights Movement did not destroy and tear down to make a point," Roane said. "We have oversimplified our history to the point that we're having these discussions today and, furthermore, sometimes we don't even talk about any of the history."

Roane and a number of the committee members went back and forth in sometimes heated exchanges.

The majority of the people at the meeting who spoke in the public comment portion were in favor of putting the statue back up.

Some, like Raul Jimenez, who was arrested in Durham last year amidst the toppling of the statue, feel the opposite.

"There have been a number of comments today about how local activists like to live in the past," Jimenez said. "We live in the future but we understand the past and that's why we continue to fight against white supremacy."

Logan Isaac is an Iraq War Veteran who recently moved to Baltimore from Durham.

"It's an uphill battle in my mind convincing myself to remove it but I think and do recognize and appreciate how public symbolism works in oppressive ways," Isaac said. "I just don't think that's the only way they have to work."

The co-chair of the committee said their job is to be as transparent as possible and to give voice to as many people as possible.

There are four more meetings before a final decision comes in November.