Society

New Orleans Takes Down Confederate Statues

| by Ray Brown

The City of New Orleans has removed several statues originally intended to honor a white supremacist group that terrorized New Orleans during the late 1800's.

In an April 24 statement, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu explained the decision:

The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates our diversity, inclusion and tolerance. Relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone else. This is not about politics, blame or retaliation. This is not a naive quest to solve all our problems at once. This is about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile -- and most importantly-- choose a better future.

We can remember these divisive chapters in our history in a museum or other facility where they can be put in context –and that’s where these statues belong.

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Workers who removed the statues had to work during the night while wearing bulletproof vests with police escorts on the ground and sniper protection from atop buildings, according to The Times-Picayune.

The decision to protect the workers came after several allegedly received death threats, according to CNN.

And despite the overnight schedule of the work, several protesters rallied against the removal. But others were glad the statues were finally removed.

"This should be a celebration but instead this is done clandestinely,″ one person said, according to CNN. "They got the workers who are taking it down dressed in black jackets, helmets and their faces are covered, to us that's cowardice.″

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The statues were created in 1891 to honor members of the "Crescent City White League,″ a group of white, mostly ex-Confederate soldiers, which fought against the racially integrated police force and militia of New Orleans, according to Landrieu's press release.

The statues were intended to commemorate the Crescent City White League's involvement in the 1874 "Battle of Liberty Place,″ a 3-day battle that flamed because of animosity towards racial integration on behalf of the former Confederate soldiers, according to New Orleans Historical.

Landrieu had previously called for the statues to be removed after an unknown person spray painted "Black Lives Matter″ on a statue honoring Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard in 2015, according to The Times-Picayune.

At the time, the New Orleans mayor also called for the removal of a monument erected for Robert E. Lee, the general of the Confederacy.

"He had little or nothing to do with the history of New Orleans," Landrieu said.

More Confederate statues are planned to be removed in the near future.

Sources: The Times-Picayune (2), City of New Orleans, CNN, New Orleans Historical / Photo Credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans via Wikimedia Commons

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