While many municipalities across the U.S. have started removing monuments to the Confederacy in light of last weekend’s violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Americans in some places are taking matters into their own hands.
In several cities where officials haven’t taken steps to remove monuments honoring those who fought to preserve slavery during the Civil War, citizens have begun vandalizing them ― in one instance even toppling a statue off its pedestal.
Here’s where protesters are making their objection to celebrations of the Confederacy loud and clear.
Confederate soldier statue in Durham, North Carolina
On Monday night, demonstrators in Durham, North Carolina, toppled a 15-foot statue depicting an armed Confederate soldier. The monument, which had stood in front of the Old Durham County Courthouse for decades, included the inscription “In memory of the boys who wore the gray” with a Confederate seal.
Police arrested four people in connection with the vandalism.
One of them, Takiyah Thompson, a 22-year-old student who admitted her involvement, has been showered with support online. She could face 25 months and 41 months in prison for each felony charge connected to the vandalism.
Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway Monument near Phoenix
The Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway Monument in the East Valley, part of the Phoenix metropolitan area, was tarred and feathered, Fox 10 reported Thursday.
The monument bears the name of Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederate States of America.
Robert E. Lee statue in Durham
A statue depicting Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee outside a chapel at Duke University was defaced sometime overnight, a university spokesman said Thursday.
The statue’s face was damaged in the attack, and its nose was removed.
The university condemned people taking action on their own.
“For an individual or group of individuals to take matters into their own hands and vandalize a house of worship undermines the right, protected in our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, of every Duke student and employee to participate fully in university life,” Duke President Vince Price said in a statement. “To that end, earlier this week I began consulting with students, faculty, alumni and others about the ways in which we can use this issue to teach, learn and heal. Together ― and only together ― we will determine an appropriate course of action informed by our collective values.”
Confederate soldier statue in Wilmington, North Carolina
A Confederate monument was vandalized twice in Wilmington, North Carolina, earlier this week, police said.
On Tuesday, officers found that a white flag had been hung on the gun of a statue depicting a Confederate solider and that its head and feet had been spray-painted, local NBC affiliate WECT 6 reported.
On Wednesday, officers discovered a rope tied to the statue’s neck. The officers believe the rope had been tied to a vehicle as part of an attempt to topple the monument, the station reported.
Confederate soldier statue in Leesburg, Virginia
A Confederate soldier statue in Leesburg, Virginia, was defaced with obscene graffiti sometime early Thursday morning, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said.
Vandals also left a graffiti message at the bronze monument saying “You lost,” The Washington Post reports.
The 109-year-old statue in Leesburg, which is about 100 miles from Charlottesville, has long been controversial, the Loudoun Times-Mirror noted Thursday.
Former Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd, who now sits on the county’s board of supervisors, told the paper she wasn’t surprised residents would lash out this way.
“You always hope that no one will vandalize any statue or building or fence,” she said. “But given how high emotions are right now, I think especially in reaction to the president’s shameful failure to condemn Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists, I think you’re going to see more of this frustration breaking out around the South, the Midwest, anywhere where these Confederate monuments still stand.”
Sebastian Murdock contributed reporting.