Mecklenburg County will again use a private company to clean a Confederate monument after it was defaced for the second time in about three weeks.
Police say sometime between 11 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday, the names of eight of nine people killed in the June mass shootings at a historic black Charleston church were etched in black paint on the monument that stands perched on a hill and under a tree at the Grady Cole Center on North Kings Drive. Shooting victim Ethel Lance’s name was not included.
The pillar was also defaced with speckles of pink paint and the phrase: “The cause for which they fought – the cause of slavery – was wrong.”
Bryan Miller, an officer with Central Piedmont Community College’s campus police department, told Charlotte-Mecklenburg police he found the monument defaced, according to a police report. He told the Observer he was on routine patrol when he discovered the pillar defaced. Authorities are now investigating both cases of vandalism on the monument, unveiled in 1929 during the 39th reunion of the United Confederate Veterans.
The incidents come amid outcry against Confederate imagery after photos surfaced of Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof displaying the Confederate battle flag.
Amid statewide vandalism of Confederate monuments, lawmakers passed a bill that makes it harder to remove historic pillars.
The 1929 pillar drew attention when Mecklenburg County commissioners discussed whether it should be removed in the wake of the Charleston killings. Commissioners didn’t make a decision and have not brought the issue up again.
The county will, however, ask Stuart Dean, a monument restoration company with offices in Charlotte, to clean the monument again. The company used solvents to restore the monument after it was smeared with liquid cement to cover portions of an engraving of the Confederate battle flag, and an inscription describing soldiers preserving the “Anglo-Saxon civilization of the South.”
The 1929 monument was unveiled during one of the biggest events to ever hit Charlotte.
The restoration cost about $379. Officials on Tuesday had not determined how much the second cleaning will cost.
Brian Cullen, Stuart Dean’s general manager in Charlotte, said he doesn’t expect the cleanup to take any longer than the first time since granite is not as porous as marble.
A marble Confederate monument erected at the old City Hall in 1977 was also defaced in July with the word, “Racist.” It was removed for cleaning and remains in a city warehouse.
Jonathan McFadden: 704-358-6045, @JmcfaddenObsGov