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Confederate symbols on decline

More than 90 removed/relocated since the death of Geroge Floyd

Lisa Olivia Fitch | 9/24/2020, midnight
Some feel the removal of Confederate statues, flags and names from buildings, may..

Some feel the removal of Confederate statues, flags and names from buildings, may represent a form of “delayed justice”. A number of statues related to the Confederacy have been removed, though some Americans favor keeping the memorials as historical symbols. Some say the Confederate flag is associated with rebellion rather than racism.

Nevertheless, in June, Mississippi voted to strip Confederate emblems from its state flag.

On Sept. 12, crowds cheered behind metal barricades as the bronze figure of a Confederate soldier known as “At Ready” was taken down after 111 years outside a county courthouse in Charlottesville, SC.

The statue was not the focal point of the violent rally in 2017 that left one counterprotester dead. But it is a block away from the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups said they were defending in a clash that endures as a symbol of the nation’s racial divide.

“These statues have been haunting this community for decades but especially since Unite the Right,” said Del. Sally L. Hudson (D-Charlottesville), who sponsored legislation Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed into law this year empowering localities to remove Civil War statues. “This part of town felt like a ghost town for the last three years because of all the violence. For us, taking down this statue is one step in reclaiming these public spaces.”

Charlottesville’s city council voted to remove both the Lee monument and another nearby depicting fellow Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, but a small group of Confederate supporters filed suit to save them. The case is headed to the Supreme Court of Virginia and could take months to be resolved.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently released an update to its “Whose Heritage?” report which tracks symbols of the Confederacy on public land across the United States:

A total of 93 Confederate symbols have been removed/relocated from public spaces or renamed since George Floyd’s death on May 25:

—Removed: 64

• 60 monuments

• one state flag (Miss.)

• one holiday (Va.)

• two Confederate flag emblems (S.D. police department assets and Va. town seal)

—Relocated: 10

• 10 Confederate monuments

—Renamed: 19

• 10 schools

• four colleges (1 campus; 3 buildings)

• two parks/trails (Calif. and Va.)

• two roads (Tex.)

• one body of water (Va.)

Since the Charleston church shooting in 2015, 146 total symbols have been removed from public spaces; and 123 monuments have been removed or relocated from public spaces.

According to the SPLC, nearly 1,800 Confederate symbols remain on public land across the nation; 698 of those symbols are monuments.

To share an update on Confederate symbol in your area, send an email to: confederateupdates@splcenter.org. The Whose Heritage? Action Guide helps communities take action to remove symbols of the Confederacy from public places.