Momentum Building To Remove Confederate Monuments

Wednesday, August 16th 2017, 9:07 am
By: News On 6

Cities and states accelerated their plans to remove Confederate monuments from public property as the violence over a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, moved leaders across the country to plan to wipe away much of the remaining Old South imagery.

CBS Baltimore reports city crews began removing Confederate monuments around the city overnight Wednesday. A Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson monument was removed with a crowd watching. A monument to former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the infamous Dred Scott ruling in 1857 affirming slavery, also came down. And crews removed a monument to Confederate women.

The Baltimore City Council passed a resolution Monday calling for the immediate deconstruction of the monuments.

In Birmingham, Alabama, workers covered the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument late Tuesday night, reports the CBS affiliate there, WIAT-TV. Mayor William Bell ordered the move to give the city time to explore the legality of removing it.

Leaders of a New York Episcopal diocese say they'll remove two plaques honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a church property in Brooklyn.

Bishop Lawrence Provenzano, leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, told Newsday on Tuesday that two plaques marking a maple tree outside St. John's Episcopal Church will be removed Wednesday.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy markers commemorate the spot where the Virginia-born Lee is said to have planted a tree while serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Hamilton in the 1840s. Two decades later he became commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

In Gainesville, Florida, on Tuesday, the Daughters of the Confederacy removed a statue of a Confederate soldier known as "Ole Joe," and in Durham, North Carolina, protesters used a rope Monday night to pull down a Confederate monument dedicated in 1924.

The anti-Confederate momentum seemed to ensure that other memorials would come down soon.

Many other local and state governments announced that they would remove statues and other imagery from public land, or consider doing so, in the aftermath of Saturday's white nationalist rally that killed one person and injured dozens more.

All around the country, Republican and Democratic officials at the state and local levels moved swiftly to begin a process to remove the statues.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he would ask the Legislature to reverse a 2015 law signed by his Republican predecessor, Pat McCrory, that prevents the removal or relocation of monuments, and to defeat a measure giving immunity to motorists who strike protesters. He also planned to ask state officials to determine the cost of moving Confederate statues and to give him options of where they could go.

"Our Civil War history is important, but it belongs in textbooks and museums?- not a place of allegiance on our Capitol grounds," Cooper said in a statement.

In Maryland, GOP Gov.  Larry Hogan said Tuesday he would push to remove the statue of Taney from state land.

"While we cannot hide from our history, nor should we, the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history," said Hogan, who before had resisted calls to move the statue.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced plans Tuesday to ask his city council to appoint a task force to study the fate of the city's Confederate statues. Rawlings said he personally finds the monuments to be "dangerous totems," but a task force would ensure a productive conversation.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, called on state officials Monday to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate cavalry general and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan, from the Tennessee Capitol. Protesters earlier draped a black jacket over the head of the bust while cheering, "Tear it down!"

Similar plans were being made in San Antonio, as well as Lexington, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Jacksonville, Florida; and elsewhere.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.