Confederate Monuments Taken Down across America - As Debate on Stone Wall Mountain Rages

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Monument removed

Proposal to remove monument

Map of Confederate Monuments

white nationalist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday brought renewed attention to dozens of Confederate monuments around the country. Many government officials have called to remove statues, markers and other monuments that celebrate controversial Civil War era figures from public grounds.

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Four monuments removed

The mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh, ordered the removal of four monuments to the era of the Confederacy, saying it was in the interest of public safety after the violence in Charlottesville. The statues were taken down before dawn on Wednesday.

Denise Sanders/The Baltimore Sun, via Associated Press

Durham, N.C.

Confederate soldier monument
toppled by protesters

Protesters pulled down a statue of a Confederate soldier in front of the Durham County Courthouse in Durham, N.C., on Monday. The statue, which had stood since 1924, was protected by a special law and state police have arrested four protesters since its removal.


Gainesville, Fla.

Monument to Confederate
soldiers removed

A local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy paid for the removal of a monument to Confederate soldiers that stood in front of Alachua County Administration Building in downtown Gainesville for 113 years. The monument, known locally as “Old Joe,” was moved to a private cemetery outside the city, according to The Gainesville Sun.

Andrea Cornejo/The Gainesville Sun

New Orleans

Four monuments removed

New Orleans removed four monumentsdedicated to the Confederacy and opponents of Reconstruction in April. City workers who took them down wore flak jackets, helmets and masks and were guarded by police because of concerns about their safety.

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press


Calls for removal of Roger B. Taney statue

The governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, called for a statue of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney to be removed from the statehouse grounds in Annapolis. Justice Taney was the chief author of the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which ruled that African-Americans, both enslaved and free, could not be American citizens.

Eric Baradat/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Charlottesville, Va.

Proposal to remove monument
to Gen. Robert E. Lee

Violence erupted on Saturday at a far-right protest against the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general, from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va. Thirty-four people were injured in clashes and one person was killed when a Nazi sympathizer plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, the authorities said. The statue has not been removed.

Matt Eich for The New York Times


Proposal to remove multiple
Confederate monuments

The president of Jacksonville City Council, Anna Lopez Brosche, called for all Confederate monuments to be moved from city property to a museum. The most prominent Confederate memorial in Jacksonville is a statue of a Confederate soldier that sits atop a towering pillar in Hemming Park.

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

Lexington, Ky.

Two Confederate monuments
slated for removal

On Tuesday, the City Council in Lexington, Ky., unanimously approved a proposal to remove two Confederate statues from the city’s historic courthouse. The mayor, Jim Gray, has 30 days to propose a new location for the statues, whose removal must be approved by the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission.

Bryan Woolston/Reuters

Washington, D.C.

Proposal to introduce bill to
remove Confederate statues
from U.S. Capitol building

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey tweeted late Wednesday that he plans on introducing a bill to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol building. There are at least 12 Confederate statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection of the Capitol building.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Charlotte, N.C. — Activists in Durham, N.C., tired of waiting for local leaders to decide what to do about a statue of a Confederate soldier downtown, on Monday literally took matters into their own hands, yanking it off its pedestal and then kicking it, as if trying to beat it into submission. A North Carolina law passed in 2015 prohibits the removal of these monuments, yet the prospect of being prosecuted for doing just that was not a deterrent.

Once again, we’re having a national debate about the hundreds of Confederate monuments that stand across the South — inspired, this time, by last weekend’s march in Charlottesville, Va., when white supremacists protested the city’s plan to move a statue of Robert E. Lee.

White supremacists aren’t the only defenders of these monuments. President Trump on Tuesday criticized efforts to take them down. “This week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down,” he told a news conference. “I wonder, is it George Washington next week?” Some say they are about heritage and history, not racism; others say we need to keep them in place to remind us of our dark past.

Confederate apologists in the South and around the country have rallied behind such monuments since they first went up in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They recast Confederate soldiers as heroes fighting not for the institution of slavery but for the “Lost Cause,” the mythology of the Confederacy as a grand patriarchal civilization.


But the Charlottesville march, with its hundreds of neo-Nazis and white nationalists coming out to defend the memory of General Lee, puts the lie to the notion that, as the apologists say, these monuments are about “heritage, not hate.”

This is hardly new. Confederate monuments have always been symbols of white supremacy. The heyday of monument building, between 1890 and 1920, was also a time of extreme racial violence, as Southern whites pushed back against what little progress had been made by African-Americans in the decades after the Civil War. As monuments went up, so did the bodies of black men, women and children during a long rash of lynching.

In the civil rights era, segregationists again sought to push back any attempt to challenge white male supremacy. Once again, they rallied under the banner of the Confederate battle flag. But this time, local and state officials from law enforcement and state agencies like the Sovereignty Commission in Mississippi joined them in their effort.

Today, the battle for white male supremacy has expanded in scope. It is nativist, anti-feminist and anti-Semitic. It is also homophobic. As always, it is racist. And it has fully embraced the imagery of Nazism, from Adolf Hitler to swastika flags to the Nazi salute.

Confederate “heritage,” as a unifying theme for the white South, also obscures the way that white elites use the white working class to do their bidding by pitting them against those with whom they have more in common economically than those in power. The path for the rise of the Southern Democratic Party, known as the “White Man’s Party,” was paved with racial violence. White elites showed their thanks by erecting Confederate monuments.

This isn’t just a Southern problem. The president of the United States has unleashed a new generation of domestic terrorists. During the presidential campaign, and now from the seat of power in the White House, Mr. Trump’s talk of building a wall, his denigration of women, his ban on transgender soldiers and his circle of nationalist advisers embolden the very people who showed up in Charlottesville chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” Us, of course, are the dispossessed white, heterosexual men who long for a return to an imagined patriarchy where they have a seat at the head of the table, even though, in reality, those seats are reserved for white elites.

And once again, rather than seeing clearly that Confederate monuments stand at the very center of the white-supremacist imagination, too many people are clouding the issue. Some of my fellow historians have naïvely suggested that we need to keep them to teach us the darker lessons of Southern history.

But at what cost? What the events of this past weekend have made clear is that for several generations, the Lee monument and others like it have assisted the cause of white supremacy and the deadly violence that has accompanied it. This is why communities across the region have a moral obligation to take up the cause of removing them. Artifacts of hate will be lost, but their history and meaning will not.

While what happened in Charlottesville is a stain on our nation, we should remain hopeful for the future. Those who gathered in the name of hatred and bigotry did so under the banners of defeated regimes. This does not bode well for their cause. Truly patriotic Americans, of all colors and creeds, can and should stand up to them as they did this past weekend. But we also need leadership at all levels of government to condemn not only their actions but also white supremacy itself.

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