Nine graves in the Confederate section of a historic Raleigh cemetery were targeted just before the new year — in what appeared to be a backlash against US Confederate symbols.
Officials say vandals struck last Wednesday night shortly after the cemetery closed. While the cemetery is private, the property is open to the public and can be accessed by pedestrians, even when the front gate is locked.
Some of the graves — which are now covered with tarps– were splattered with red paint, and tagged with the words “slavery,” “Not heroes” and “KKK.”
The cemetery’s executive director told ABC 11 News there are 25,000 bodies that rest there, and said what the vandals did was a “cowardly act.”
The cemetery contains the graves of “hundreds of foot soldiers” including 137 who were transported from the battlefield of Gettysburg in 1871, according to rt.com.
Many of the graves are historic monuments, made of marble, which date as far back as 1870. Restoration costs are estimated at more than $20,000. Police don’t yet know who was behind this. So far, no arrests have been made. Investigators believe a lot of research went into this, since it was only the headstones of specific confederate officers that were targeted. The rest of the graves were untouched.
While most of the damaged graves belonged to high-ranking Confederate officers, the stone of North Carolina Gov. Charles Aycock, was also defaced. Aycock’s views about African Americans, in the early 1900s, have met increased criticism. “White Supremacist” was painted on his gravestone, according to the local TV news report.
Similar incidents have been reported in other parts of the state over the last few years. Just this past July, also in Raleigh, someone spray-painted “Black Lives Matter” on a statue dedicated to the women involved in the Confederacy. Also, on the UNC campus at Chapel Hill, a pro-Confederate statue was repeatedly vandalized in 2014 and 2015.
Celebrities have even inserted themselves into the confederate controversy. In a recent interview for his new movie, director Quentin Tarantino called the Confederate flag an “American swastika.”
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