Tensions flare in NC town after removal of Confederate monument

LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — A 115-year-old Confederate monument in uptown Lexington may be gone, but that hasn’t stopped people from gathering at the former site less than 24 hours after its removal.  

It was an unexpected sight Friday for the city of Lexington as people drove by South Main Street and stared.

The 115-year-old Confederate monument commemorating is now gone. Mayor Newell Clark said he was shocked himself when he saw the crane early Friday morning. 

“The sooner, the better for safety issues, and that’s what (a group) really was requesting,” Clark said. 

Antonio Henderson witnessed the monument’s removal from start to finish. He and the rest of his organization, Unity for Change, noticed a large police presence Thursday night and barricades in the street. 

“I got here about 10:30 and we didn’t leave until 2:30/3:00 this morning,” Henderson said. 

Henderson said the rain and cold weather couldn’t keep them away. They’ve been standing outside every night for the last 141 days in protest of the statue.  

“It poured down on us last night, but we had our umbrellas and our hoodies out. We weren’t going to miss it for nothing,” Henderson recalled. 

Hours later, people left flowers and cards mourning the loss of what they say is a part of history.  

“Any cop that stood up here last night while the statue was removed is a coward and needs to be removed from uniform,” Michael Colee Scott said. 

As WGHP tried to interview Scott about his support for the monument, a verbal altercation broke out and quickly became heated to the point where police arrived to calm things down.

Clark says even with the statue moved out of city limits, city leaders will continue to keep a close eye on the area. 

“We’re ready to help and assist and keep things safe,” Clark said. 

He expects tensions to fizzle out over time as the object of controversy is kept in safe hands.  

“It’ll be challenging for any community that’s going through this, but I have faith in ours. I have faith in our people. I have faith in our leadership because I know that we have compassionate leaders and respectful leaders,” Clark stated. 

The monument is currently being stored in an undisclosed location in Davidson County until it can be relocated to another site. 

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