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New Confederate Monuments Going up

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New monuments to the Confederacy are being put up across the country even as city authorities and other public institutions move to take statues down.

The new monuments, including one near the Texas-Louisiana border and another in Alabama, are being constructed on private land, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Cities and universities decided to remove Confederate monuments following the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

But Hank Van Slyke of the Sons of the Confederacy, who is involved in putting up the Texas monument, told the Los Angeles Times that his group is justified in commemorating Confederate fighters.

"Throughout history, whoever wins the war and conquers the nation, they get to write the history books," he said, according to the Times. "We've always studied that we had a good cause, and our ancestors fought for what they thought was right."

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David Coggins owns the site on which the monument to unknown Confederate soldiers is located in Brantley, Alabama.

"There's nothing racist about us," said Coggins, according to WSFA. "We're not white supremacists."

"As a matter of fact, we have members in our organization who are black," added Coggins. "We have Hispanic members. We have Native American members. We have members from all over and all nationalities, and they shouldn't be concerned about any sign of offense here from us, because we honor all of those veterans."

John Smith, the city attorney in Orange, disagreed with Van Slyke, describing the organization as a "racist hate group."

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The monument includes 13 pillars, one representing each Confederate state. When the site is completed, 40 poles surrounding the pillars will fly Confederate battle flags.

"It's as if we've gone backwards," said Annette Pernell, a local council member. "I didn't think, at this age, I would see what I'm seeing now. A Confederate memorial is a slap in the face of all Americans, not just African Americans."

Benard Simelton, head of the NAACP in Alabama, took issue with Coggins' statements.

"The historical meaning, intent and outright disrespect noted in these Confederate symbols and monuments reignite the negative history and memories associated with them," said Simelton, WSFA reported.

The monument in Brantley was unveiled in late August, around two weeks after a counter-protester was killed in Charlottesville.

"If they had to unveil it, why would they unveil it on the heels of such a tragic event that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia," added Simelton.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, WSFA / Featured Image: Bedford/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Bedford/Wikimedia Commons, C. Bedford Crenshaw/Wikimedia Commons

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