Police said Jody Michael Anderson, 22, and Enzo Moretti Niebuhr, 18, yelled profanities and shouted, “Racist statues have to go!” while climbing on the Monument to North Carolina Women of the Confederacy and cloaking it in “white KKK style hoods” in an act of defiance, according to The Raleigh News & Observer. Anderson and Niebuhr were charged with disorderly conduct by abusive language and defacing a public building or statue, court records show.
The two men were reportedly part of a larger group of protesters rallying against Confederate statues in the State Capitol. The defaced, seven-foot-tall Monument to North Carolina Women of the Confederacy, which served as a meeting point for the protesters, is an homage to “hardships and sacrifices of North Carolina women during the Civil War,” according to The American Legion.
The statue is comprised of a grandmotherly figure, who represents “women in the South as the custodians of history,” and a boy, to whom the woman “imparts the history of the Civil War” as she reads a book, The American Legion said.
Local activist group Smash Racism Raleigh released a statement that explained the intentions of the protesters’ action at the Capitol, which was “to properly contextualize the statue’s role in perpetuating white supremacy and reinforcing both Jim Crow era and modern racist violence and oppression,” according to The Raleigh News & Observer.
The Monument to North Carolina Women of the Confederacy itself has been vandalized at least twice before. Police arrested a different Raleigh man in March for placing a Ku Klux Klan hood on the statue. And in 2015, it was spray-painted with the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”
At least one other Confederate statue in North Carolina has made been the target of vandalism.
In April 2018, three people in Raleigh were charged after toppling a Silent Sam, a Confederate monument at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to the ground. The suspects faced charges of rioting and defacing a public monument, and the statue was later relocated.
Protests against Confederate statues have made headlines in other states, too. In March, the student body at the University of Mississippi — a.k.a. Ole Miss — voted unanimously to remove a longstanding statue of a Confederate soldier from the main campus to a less central Confederate cemetery.
Anderson and Niebuhr posted bond and were released Sunday, the same day they were arrested for defacing the Monument to North Carolina Women of the Confederacy. Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to the Raleigh Police Department for an update on the incident.
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