Society

New Orleans Removes Second Confederate Monument

| by Alex Scarr

The second of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans, Louisiana, was taken down amid contentious protests.

The statue of Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy, was removed from its post on May 10.

The statue was removed in the early morning hours, as constructions crews worked to dismantle the 12-foot base and bronze statue. Crews wore tape and cardboard over their company logos, as well as masks and hard hats, according to CNN.

Groups both in favor and opposed to the statue's removal gathered at the site, with police separating the two groups with barricades. One person in favor of the removal held a sign that read "Bout Time," while members of the opposition stood quietly, waving Confederate Flags. One man saluted the statue, while others chanted "President Davis."

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In December 2015, New Orleans City Council members voted 6-1 in favor of removing four Confederate statues around the city.

"We need not honor these individuals and moments from the past that do not meet our standards of decency, equality and nondiscrimination," said Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey. She also said the city of New Orleans needed to "stop living under the shadow of slavery."

Councilwoman Stacy Head cast the only vote to keep the statues, saying their removal wold further racial divide, not help heal the city's wounds.

"It will not improve the socioeconomic balance of the city," she said. "If it would make the city more color blind, if it would create more balance, I would sacrifice almost any physical object to get us to that point."

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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the Charleston, South Carolina, slayings, in which self-proclaimed white supremacist Dylann Roof shot and killed nine black worshippers at a historically black church in June 2015, were a tipping point in introducing this action.

Historic societies in New Orleans sued to block the statues' removal, but an appeals court ruled the monuments belonged to the city and therefore the city had power to remove, but not destroy, them. Landrieu said the monuments will be removed and put into storage until a suitable and permanent home can be found.

"To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in some of our most prominent public places is not only an inaccurate reflection of our past, it is an affront to our present, and a bad prescription for our future," said Landrieu in a May 11 statement. "We should not be afraid to confront and reconcile our past."

The remaining two monuments of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard are also slated for removal.

Sources: CNN (23) / Photo credit: Michael Winters/Flickr

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