Share this Post
The night of Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of former slaves, kicked off the emancipation of Raleigh from housing Confederate statues on public property.
Demonstrators scaled a 75-foot tall, bronze Confederate soldier that stood in front of the North Carolina State Capitol, pulled it down with a strap, dragged it through downtown’s streets and hoisted it up a light pole at at the intersection of Salisbury and West Hargett, where they left it hanging. Another downed soldier statue was deposited on the steps of the Wake County Courthouse.
By the next morning, crews on the Capitol grounds worked to dismantle remaining Confederate statues under orders from Governor Roy Cooper. It’s not clear what, if anything, will replace the statues at the Capitol but the events mark an end to displays of “monuments to white supremacy,” in Cooper’s words, in North Carolina’s capital city.
Before last month’s events, Tony Cope, co-owner of Raleigh creative marketing agency Myriad Media, was working on a project to honor the histories of former slaves and other Civil War figures whose stories to this day remain largely untold. The project, called Hidden in Plain Sight, is an online portal that uses augmented reality to overlay stories of real people, in real time. The original plan was to have historical figures come to life to tell their stories in four to five short video segments at the sites of Confederate monuments.
Although in Raleigh many of the monuments are now gone—potentially to be relocated to museums where important moments in history can be preserved in more appropriate, contextualized settings—Cope says he is still moving forward with his project.
“These are crucial stories and history that will always be relevant,” he says.
So far, Cope’s website shares the stories of two former slaves: Lunsford Lane and Harriet Jacobs. Cope says he hopes to have a total of 35 to 40 characters in order to create an experiential documentary with an overarching story.
Anyone anywhere in the world can use the platform, which aims to share the accounts of an enslaved and subjugated population that’s often overshadowed by glorified Confederate messaging.
A born and raised Southerner, Cope says he hopes the project will help reframe the South’s often troubling history and help to ensure that that history doesn’t repeat itself.
“We need to learn who we were and who we are right now in order to truly be better and get closer to who we want to be,” he says. “We can’t escape who we are; we can’t escape our history. It’s a great reminder that we’ve got a lot of work to do.” untoldstoriesar.org
Share this Post