You may have already heard, but on a Monday in early August a group of protesters pulled down the statue of a Confederate soldier that stood outside the old Durham County courthouse. The statue, the Confederate Soldiers Monument, was dedicated to the county of Durham in May, 1924. Engraved in the statute are the words, “ In memory of the boys who wore the gray.”
The statue and words cause have caused the controversy and may be a big reason why the statute was torn down.
The day after the statue fell, sheriff deputies announced that they arrested Takiyah Thompson, 22, and charged her with felony and misdemeanor charges. A video taken during the protest shows Thompson was involved in tearing down the statue. after Thompson’s arrest, about 200 people showed up to turn themselves in and accepted responsibility of tearing down the Confederate Soldiers Monument.
This total chain reaction is in response to what happened earlier in Charlottesville, Va., with the Robert E. Lee statute, the KKK, white supremacists, counter-protesters and the eventual deaths of three people.
A big question is: are arrests for tearing down the Confederate monument justified when many Durham citizens have opinions that these statues in their city don’t represent equality for all people?
On social media and hearing adults in my community talk about the situation, it is understandable why protestors responded in such a way. Very few expected or even wanted to have white supremacist hate groups come to Durham and let what happened in Charlottesville happen here. No one wanted hate to succeed, because the unity Durham has wouldn’t allow it.
I feel that it’s important that Durham residents took the statue down and made such an impact — regardless whether people feel good or bad — because to me it shows that people aren’t scared to express their feelings to America.
With a history of black people being treated wrong — and even killed for exercising their constitutional rights and never having a true government response or consequences for those involved in innocent deaths and injuries — then taking down a Confederate soldier’s statue will, if nothing else, cause awareness and ensure that people will not stand for injustices any more.
Nafisa Shah, a senior at Hillside High School, served last year as an intern at the VOICE with Partners for Youth Opportunity. This fall, Nafisa becomes the new Teen Editor-in-Chief of the Durham VOICE. She is also staff member of the Hillside Chronicle, the school newspaper of Hillside High School, which led by HHS journalism teacher Jackie Novotny, with support from the Durham VOICE.