Aug 15, 2017

The Confederate-era statue issue is just beginning

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is lowered to a truck for removal Friday, May 19, 2017, from Lee Circle in New Orleans. (Scott Threlkeld / AP)

Charlottesville, Virginia, was the home this weekend to a "Unite the Right" white nationalist rally that ended with one progressive protester killed, and two state police officers dead from a helicopter crash. The purpose of the rally was to oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

But Charlottesville is not the only city with Confederate-era statues. One was ripped down Monday night in Durham, North Carolina, and other cities are debating or facing active calls to remove their Confederate memorials and statues.

Other cities with the potential to be the next Charlottesville:

  • Baltimore, MD: Monday morning, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she had "reached out to two contractors about removing Confederate-era monuments in Baltimore," according to the Baltimore Sun.
  • Lexington, KY: Saturday afternoon, Lexington, Kentucky, Mayor Jim Gray tweeted that he is "taking action to relocate" the city's two Confederate statues. The Washington Post reports that that they will be placed in "a nearby park honoring veterans," if approved.
  • Gainesville, FL: The Orlando Sentinel reported that the statue known as "Old Joe" currently standing outside the Alachua County Administrative Building, is being returned to the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
  • Hillsborough, FL: In July, the Hillsborough County commissioners voted to remove a Confederate statue in downtown Tampa. Per the Orlando Sentinel, the commission will re-visit the issue on Wednesday.
  • Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche said Monday she wants to relocate Confederate monuments from public property into "museums or other settings where they can be 'historically contextualized,'" according to the Florida Times-Union.
  • Richmond, VA: Protestors marched in downtown Richmond Sunday night, and demanded the removal of a statue of Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart, according to WTVR CBS 6 Richmond. Additionally, The Hill reports that Americans for Richmond Monument Preservation have requested to have an event at a Robert E. Lee monument on September 16.
  • Boston, MA: There is a planned "Free Speech Rally" for this Saturday in Boston. Mayor Marty Walsh said they "will not tolerate incitements to violence."
  • San Francisco, CA: A "Patriot Prayer" group has been issued a license to gather on August 26 at Crissy Field in San Francisco, according to SF Gate. SF Gate reports that Southern Poverty Law Center described the group as one that provokes "black-clad ideologues on the left into acts of violence."
  • Berkeley, CA: Per a SF Gate report, No Marxism in America is gathering on August 27 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, but has not yet applied for a permit.

These cities have already removed Confederate memorials:

  • New Orleans, LA: Four Civil War-era monuments were taken down in New Orleans. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said they ignored the terror they stood for, and that post-Civil War they "were part of that terrorism as much as burning a cross on someone's lawn," according to CNN.
  • St. Louis, MO: In late June, city officials reached an agreement with the Missouri Civil War Museum and other groups to relocate a Confederate monument to the museum, a cemetery, or battlefield outside the city, per a Reuters report.
  • Austin, TX: UT Austin Student Body President Xavier Rotnofsky proposed the removal of a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. It was relocated to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.
  • Orlando, FL: An estimated six-week process of relocating a Confederate statue began in June at Lake Eola Park in Orlando. The statue is being moved to a Confederate veteran section of the Greenwood Cemetery.
  • Columbia, MO: A five-and-a-half ton boulder monument was moved in 2015 from the Boone County Courthouse to a historic battlefield site.
  • Tuscaloosa, AL: The Unviersity of Alabama replaced the portrait of Confederate general John Tyler Morgan in 2015, with a collection of African-American art that was donated in 2008.
  • Stuart, VA: The portrait of Confederal general Jeb Stuart was removed from outside the Patrick County courthouse.
  • Rockville, MD: A statue of a Confederate cavalryman is being relocated from it's original placement near the Old Red Brick Courthouse to private property.

States with laws that preserve Confederate history:

  • Alabama: Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017 which "disallows removing or renaming any memorial streets or buildings...that have been in place for 40 or more years," according to Yahoo.
  • South Carolina: The South Carolina Heritage Act, passed in 2000, requires a two-thirds vote from the Legislature to approve any changes made to historical monuments.
  • Tennessee: The Tennessee Heritage Protection Act is similar to South Carolina's, requiring a two-thirds vote from the Tennessee Historical Commission to approve changes in historical items like flags, plaques, streets, bridges, etc.
  • North Carolina: In 2015, Governor Pat McCroy approved a bill that would prohibit the removal of "any historical statue on public property, per NPR.
Go deeper