Statue of well-known racist with ties to Wilmington Massacre of 1898 removed in Raleigh

Updated: Jun. 16, 2020 at 7:51 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/WECT) - A statue of a well-known North Carolina racist that was placed in downtown Raleigh’s Nash Square in 1984 was removed Tuesday morning after more than 35 years.

Josephus Daniels played a leading role in creating The News & Observer but was also known as a racist and white supremacist, according to a statement from the Daniels family. According to a state-sanctioned report, Daniels was listed as one of the causes behind the Wilmington Massacre of 1898.

In the fall of 1984, the Daniels family commissioned a statue and placed it in Nash Square across from the former News & Observer building “to acknowledge his role in creating” the newspaper, according to the statement.

The family recently decided to remove the statue and crews took it down this morning. The statue will be placed in storage for the time being.

Daniels wrote in a Raleigh News and Observer editorial on Jan. 28, 1900, that “The greatest folly and crime in our national history was the establishment of [N]egro suffrage immediately after the [Civil] War. Not a single good thing has come of it, but only evil,” according to an excerpt from an article that appeared in a 1999 issue of American Journalism.

A statement from the former publisher of The News & Observer Frank A. Daniels, Jr., on behalf of the Daniels family, can be read in full below:

"In the fall of 1984, the Daniels family commissioned and placed a statue of Josephus Daniels in a public park across the street from The News & Observer to acknowledge his role in creating one of the nation’s leading newspapers.

This morning we removed the statue from Nash Square. We have placed it in storage until we can find a suitable location on private property.

Josephus Daniels’ legacy of service to North Carolina and our country does not transcend his reprehensible stance on race and his active support of racist activities.

In the 75 years since his death, The N&O and our family have been a progressive voice for equality for all North Carolinians, and we recognize this statue undermines those efforts.” -- FRANK A. DANIELS, JR.

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