WINSTON-SALEM — In a speech made at Winston-Salem’s annual Emancipation Proclamation anniversary ceremony on Tuesday, January 1, Mayor Allen Joines directed a local United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) chapter to permanently remove its Confederate soldier statue from downtown by the end of the month or risk legal action. “We’ve already had two instances of vandalism,” Joines said, addressing the sizeable crowd gathered at Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church on the last day of Kwanzaa. “Therefore, we are directing the Daughters of the Confederacy to remove it, and if they don’t, we’re prepared to file legal action to achieve that removal.” The monument stands downtown at the corner of West Fourth Street and North Liberty Street beside the historic Forsyth County Courthouse. Its most recent defacement on Christmas Day, when somebody scrawled “cowards & traitors” along its base in black permanent marker. A previous incident occurred on August 18. The statue depicts a nameless infantryman with his musket upright, its butt planted near his feet, and a plaque reading "Our Confederate Dead" fixed to its front pedestal. The rear plaque reads "As Southern Soldiers Of The War Of 1861-1865, They Share The Fame That Mankind Awards To The Heroes Who Served In That Great Conflict." The description also details its 1905 erection by the James B. Gordon Chapter of the UDC. The recent controversy has placed the UDC statue on a growing list of Confederate-heritage landmarks from the Jim Crow era in North Carolina now the target of removal campaigns by activist groups. Raleigh and Asheville have seen disputes over such but the most well-known of which is Chapel Hill’s “Silent Sam” sculpture of a nameless young Confederate soldier, toppled in August of 2018. In a letter sent to select UDC members, city attorney Angela Carmon wrote that given “the intensity of the most recent message left by vandals...I indicated a concern about potential breaches to the peace and the strong likelihood that, given the intensity of the message, that breaches of peace are likely to occur.” “Failure to comply with this direction may result in the city seeking a court order,” Carmon said, in order to “address public safety concerns that are escalating as the messages left by vandals intensify after each incident.” Also present on Tuesday was city council member Denise “D.D.” Adams, who voiced a similar urgency. “In the heat of the night, people may come through like ninja warriors and take that statue down,” Adams said. The Cultural History Artifact Management and Patriotism Act, which passed through the North Carolina General Assembly in 2015, stipulates that no “object of remembrance” on public property, Confederate or otherwise, “may be removed, relocated, or altered in any way without the approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission.” The UDC statue in Winston-Salem, however, is now sitting on private real estate owned by Winston Courthouse, LLC; both Jones and Carmon claim this fact grants the city a right to issue its directive for removal, “in order to minimize public safety concerns.