State Capitol Police say they are looking for two people who they say painted the slogan “Black Lives Matter” on the Women of the Confederacy monument on the Capitol grounds early Tuesday morning.
Police say they are reviewing video from several nearby security cameras and that the City-County Bureau of Identification is processing physical evidence found near the site.
“It’s just a matter of time before the suspects are identified,” said Maj. Anthony Moss of the State Capitol Police. “Vandalism of state property of any kind will not be tolerated.”
A Raleigh police officer found the slogan about 3:20 a.m. “Black Lives Matter” has also been painted on other Confederate memorials, including the Silent Sam statue on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus and Durham’s Confederate memorial outside the old county courthouse on East Main Street.
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Moss said “the paint was still wet” when officers arrived. By daylight, authorities had covered the vandalism with black plastic sheeting and later brought in pressure washers to try to get paint off.
Police think the vandals also used the black spray paint to scrawl the slogan in several other areas of downtown. Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said police found “similar acts of vandalism” at a vacant building at Hillsborough and West streets, a construction site in the 500 block of North Person Street and the Lincoln building at Hargett and Bloodworth streets.
The Women of the Confederacy monument faces south on the south side of the Capitol grounds along West Morgan Street. It shows a woman seated next to a boy holding a sword.
It was unveiled in 1914 after the state legislature twice rejected funding it. A Civil War veteran, Col. Ashley Horne of Clayton, put up the $10,000 cost. Horne died before the statue was unveiled, however.
Sculptor Augustus Lukeman was commissioned to design the bronze figures, and Lincoln Memorial architect Henry Bacon was commissioned to design the base, made of granite quarried near Mount Airy.
According to a 1912 News & Observer article in the Southern documents collection at UNC, the New York Herald newspaper spoke with Lukeman about the statue after he had constructed a model of his design.
The artist said he was representing a “grandmother ... seated in a chair, and at her knee is her grandson, a lad of six or seven years, holding the sabre of his father.”
The grandmother, as the artist interpreted the design, “is telling the story of the lost cause without a hint of bitterness or malice.”