• 73°

Statue of antebellum North Carolina chief justice at court removed

The statue of a 19th-century North Carolina Supreme Court justice was removed on Monday from the entrance of the state Court of Appeals building. Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin is known in part for a ruling in which he concluded the slave owner’s power over his slave was absolute.

A flatbed pulled by a truck took away the full-body statue of Ruffin, which had sat under an overhang near the front door of the building, situated across the street from the old state Capitol and that once housed the Supreme Court. The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources will store the statue temporarily until its new location is determined.

The statue was removed following recent topplings and damage to Confederate monuments in North Carolina and in other states. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered three such monuments be removed from the old Capitol grounds last month for public safety after one of them was damaged by protesters.

The State Capitol Police recently told the Court of Appeals about safety concerns in leaving the Ruffin statue in place, state courts spokesperson Sharon Gladwell said. The appeals court asked Cooper’s office for the statue to be removed.

Ruffin served on the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1829 to 1852. He wrote an opinion that overturned the conviction of a slave owner for shooting in the back a slave who fled after refusing the owner’s orders. Ruffin wrote that a slave’s obedience “is the consequence only of uncontrolled authority over the body.”

A state Supreme Court commission was created in 2018 to review what to do about portraits of justices hanging in the current Supreme Court building. They include a large painting that sits on the wall behind the Supreme Court bench.

The commission is now supposed to complete its work by the end of this year. North Carolina has had two black chief justices, including current Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS AND EVENTS HERE.

RECENT HEADLINES:

COVID-19 testing set in Swan Quarter Wednesday

Denise Johnson cold case: Podcast continues to bring renewed attention 23 years after murder

News

Water flows again in Avon; boil water advisory in effect

Lifestyles

Dare Day postponed until next year

News

NCDOT issues reminder to avoid pedestrian pier during construction

News

Body of North Carolina man missing since Thursday found at lake shore

News

Manteo commissioners schedule hearing for text amendments

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 14 years in prison for drug, firearm charges

News

Duck Town Council approves ordinance changes

News

Water alert issued for Avon

Lifestyles

Coast Guard medal awarded to Nags Head lifeguard

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 15 years in prison for firearm charge

News

State Supreme Court: Students can use constitution to fight bullying

News

Former North Carolina judge censured for sexual misconduct

News

United States COVID-19 vaccine surplus continues to grow; expiration dates loom

News

Dare commissioners adopt budget, set up Avon beach nourishment districts

Crime

North Carolina Supreme Court upholds murder charge in starvation death of 4-year-old child

News

North Carolina Senate gives final approval to $2 billion tax-cut plan

Crime

One killed and three wounded in North Carolina shooting

Lifestyles

The Lost Colony dazzles in 84th season

Lifestyles

Food giveaway Saturday in Columbia

News

Cooper announces drawings for million-dollar prizes and college tuition to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations

News

Manteo commissioners adopt town budget for 2022

News

North Carolina ban on abortions on basis of race, sex or Down syndrome goes to governor

Crime

Feds accuse North Carolina woman of pushing fake COVID-19 cure

Columnist

Column: Seeking justice for Brenda Joyce Holland