The Removal of Confederate Statues

WHAT IT IS

  • In late April of 2017, workers began work on removing four statues commemorating Confederate Civil War history per the request of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
  • During that same month, officials in Charlottesville voted to take down a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
  • Both the mayor of New Orleans and Charlottesville state similar reasoning for the decision: what is the social appropriateness of the statues?

WHY IT MATTERS

The recent removal of the statues have sparked controversy among not only city residents but reignites conversations regarding race in the United States.

  • ANTI-MONUMENT – “Confederacy is racism”

    • Injustice for all:   The Confederate statues represent the nation’s long history of slavery and discrimination among African Americans, embodying more hate rather than celebration.
    • Wrong side of history:   Despite the statues’ withstanding presence, the statues are a false reminder of U.S. history, as Mayor Landrieu noted in a speech that these monuments come from “the wrong side of humanity”.
    • Lives that Matter:   Mayor Landrieu called for the removal after the death of nine parishioners in a church in Charleston by a self proclaimed white supremacist, and sees the eradication of Confederate statues as a step toward race tolerance.
  • PRO-MONUMENT – “Confederacy is history”

    • Proud heritage:   Confederacy symbolizes Southern pride and culture, and to remove the statues would be an erasure of the century old Southern identity.
    • Backdoor dealings:   Mayor Landrieu accepted several private donors to fund the statues’ removal, which have yet to be disclosed and raise eyebrows.
    • Important history lesson:   Taking the statues out of the public eye discredits those soldiers who fought in the Confederacy, who were motivated by state’s rights rather than supporting slavery.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • A protest lead by Alt-Right group founder Richard Spencer on May 13th in Charlottesville was called by mayor Michael Signor as reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan.
  • Crowds cheered as New Orleans removed the fourth final confederate statue on May 19th, and the fallen statues will be relocated.
  • Other Southern states including Alabama and Mississippi have also made efforts to remove Confederate symbols.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • See what is next for the Confederate statues comprehensive list of parks under review.
  • After years of attempts by city officials, why are Confederate statues being taken down now?