Q: If the Confederate statue that was removed from downtown is placed in the Salem Cemetery, will it be placed facing north as is the custom with such relics? If so, will it not be staring into the Moravian graveyard at the corner of Cemetery Street and Salem Avenue where over 200 slaves and other African-Americans who were not welcomed into God’s Acre are buried?
Answer: “I believe the statue at the courthouse was facing roughly west,” said Mayor Allen Joines. “At the cemetery, the orientation would likely be south.”
The tradition you are referring to is inconsistent at best. The Confederate war memorial statue nicknamed “Silent Sam” that once stood on the UNC campus did face north, “toward the Union,” as a column at the historical website We’re History (werehistory.org/silent-sam/) put it, as did many other statues that were manufactured at the time. “Silent Sam was among many ‘Silent Sentinels,’ — statues of soldiers without cartridge box, soldiers who could no longer fire a shot — that were manufactured and bronzed in the North and then sent down South for public display,” according to the column. “Many of these statues look remarkably similar.”
However, many other statues, including those on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, face various directions, according to an article at Richmond.com. Local lore in Richmond has it that those who died in the war face north and those who survived face south, but some of those statues face east. There are also formulas that supposedly reveal whether a rider on horseback died in the battle or not depending on what hooves are off the ground.
In a 1997 article, a curator at the Virginia Historical Society said that “To the best of anyone’s knowledge, the position and pose of the statue do not signify anything.” A study published in Southeastern Geographer found that the idea statues of Confederate soldiers always faced north was not true, and that generally they faced in the same direction as the courthouse where many of them stood.
Since the Confederate statue in Winston-Salem was a memorial to those who died in the war, facing south at the cemetery as Mayor Joines suggested would fit the formula mentioned above.
Q: How does one go about getting the city to put speed bumps on a road? We feel people drive way too fast.
Answer: The best way to make an initial request for traffic calming for your neighborhood is to call City Link at 336-727-8000. Your request will then be forwarded to appropriate staff members to look into.
Details of the city’s traffic calming policies can be found online at www.cityofws.org/1288/Traffic-Calming-Policy. That page has pdf files broken down by categories. In your case, you should select chapter two, which addresses existing neighborhoods. It includes a Traffic Calming Petition that can be printed out and submitted to the DOT.
A Community Shred Day and Food Collection drive for Sunnyside Ministry will be held from 9 a.m. to noon today at Fries Memorial Moravian Church, 251 N. Hawthorne Road, Winston-Salem. Shamrock Shredding will be shredding documents on-site in the church parking lot.