If there’s one positive thing we can take from Charlottesville, it’s this: Across the former Confederate States of America, those statues are going down.
NPR points out white supremacists marched on Charlottesville to protect a statue of Robert E. Lee and their so-called Confederate “heritage.” Instead, their violent and hate-filled actions are likely to hasten its demise. The city council had already voted to take down the statue. They’d also renamed Lee Park as Emancipation Park. Southern states across America have been giving these statues and symbols some serious thought. Now, the deaths of three people and injuries sustained by dozens more at this weekend’s “Unite the Right” rally are bringing this issue to a head.
So why is Robert E. Lee’s statue still standing? The state’s Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a lawsuit, The Washington Post explains. Yet celebrating so-called “heroes” who fought for the “right” to enslave their fellow Americans is getting harder and harder to defend.
On Monday night, protesters gathered to take down yet another statue of a Confederate soldier. A young woman climbed up a ladder, tied a yellow cord around the statue’s head, and then the crowd pulled while chanting, “No cops. No KKK. No Nazis USA.”
“The statue did a somersault,” The Durham Herald-Sun wrote. It then collapsed “against the stone pedestal in front of the old county courthouse on East Main Street.” Police filmed the whole thing but did not intervene. But WNCN reports police are now tracking down and arresting those involved and a woman has been charged. They also remind viewers the GOP-run state legislature passed a law that bans taking down “historical monuments.” With all of America watching, will public officials want to be seen putting that statue back up or handing out harsh sentences to young people for toppling a symbol of slavery and genocide? We’ll see.
— Durham Herald-Sun (@TheHerald_Sun) August 14, 2017
Baltimore wasn’t among the Confederate States of America, they stayed in the Union. But their elites still owned slaves and had close ties to their neighbors in the Old South. The Baltimore Sun reports former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake called for taking down two of the city’s four Confederate-themed monuments and writing “contextual signage” for the other two. Before she left office, she placed signs on all four calling them “part of a propaganda campaign” to “perpetuate the beliefs of white supremacy.”
On Monday, Vanessa Herring from WBAL tweeted, the Baltimore City Council voted to destroy all four of those monuments right away. Things are not working out as those white supremacists in Charlottesville had planned.
— Vanessa Herring (@VanessaWBAL) August 14, 2017
Kentucky’s yet another one of the southern states that are minus one Confederate monument. On Tuesday the Lexington city council voted on a measure to remove two statues from the grounds of Fayette County’s former courthouse. The Lexington Herald Leader reports the measure passed unanimously. Mayor Jim Gray had originally planned to relocate the statues to a new war memorial. But now he’s going to come up with a different plan and inform the council within 30 days. Of course, hordes of White supremacists are planning a rally to oppose the measure. After all, that went over so well in Charlottesville. Another post from the Herald Leader adds, “Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the Traditionalist Worker Party, said his group is discussing plans for the rally with others allied under an umbrella organization called the Nationalist Front.” Only in America.
— heraldleader (@heraldleader) August 15, 2017
On Monday, yet another Confederate statue was removed and carried away after months of debate. “Old Joe” stood in front of the Alachua County Administration Building in Gainsville for 113 years. But the group that put it there — the Kirby Smith chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy — paid workers to cart it away and install it in a cemetery southeast of the city. The Gainesville Sun reports the removal went smoothly with only a handful of people taking photos. A tearful Melissa Wokasch declared, “It’s about time.” She then added, “I think this should have been done a long time ago. I think there’s a greater sense of urgency now than ever.” As with other cities in both Northern and Southern states across America, hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil on Sunday in support of those hurt and killed in Charlottesville.
— Alt-Rupert (@TheMurdochTimes) August 15, 2017
CNN reports other cities in the former Confederate States of America are also thinking about giving their statues the heave ho. These include Richmond, Va.; Atlanta, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, Texas.
Watch: Protesters take down a Confederate statue in downtown Durham, N.C.
Featured image: Video screen grab | Casey Toth | The Herald Sun.