Statue of Josephus Daniels removed from downtown Raleigh, school renamed

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Josephus Daniels, ambassador to Mexico, as they arrived at 4-H Club encampment in Washington on June 14, 1940. In background to the president’s right is Henry Wallace, secretary of agriculture. (AP Photo/George R. Skadding/Max Desfor)

RALEIGH – The statue of Josephus Daniels, a former newspaper publisher and Secretary of the Navy, was removed from Nash square in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday.

Daniels purchased the Raleigh News & Observer in 1894 and the family controlled the paper until 1995. For decades under Daniels’ leadership, the newspaper was used to support Democrats and white supremacy, and the newspaper was linked to the Wilmington insurrection of 1898. The News & Observer formally apologized for its role over 100 years later.

According to news reports, the family agreed to remove the statue and said it would be placed into storage.

While the family has long been out of the newspaper business, Daniels’ great granddaughter, N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Lucy Inman, a registered Democrat, has served on the Court of Appeals since winning election in 2014. She is running for the N.C. Supreme Court this November against fellow Court of Appeals Judge Phil Berger, Jr.

Inman did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

Wake County school leaders Tuesday night then voted to change of the name of a Raleigh middle school that was named Daniels.

The school will be renamed Oberlin Middle School. The school is on Oberlin Road. The name also honors a community that former slaves founded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.