Posted on December 30, 2020

N.C. Supreme Court Removing Portrait of Former Chief Justice Who Owned Slaves

Bryan Anderson, Associated Press, December 28, 2020

The N.C. Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will remove a portrait of a former chief justice from its courtroom who staunchly defended slavery and owned slaves himself.

Thomas Ruffin, a slave owner in the 1800s, believed an owner’s power over his slave was absolute. {snip}


A smaller portrait of Ruffin was removed from an Orange County courthouse earlier this year, as was a statue of him from the entrance of the N.C. Court of Appeals building. The appeals building was once named after him.

Outgoing state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley said in a statement that a Supreme Court seal will replace Ruffin’s portrait in the court.


She called the decision to remove the portrait “a tremendous reflection of the progress that has been made since the time Chief Justice Ruffin served on the court.”