George Floyd demonstrations damage, cause removal of several Confederate monuments


Jim (Flickr)

The Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, Va. before being damaged by protesters last weekend

Ole Olafson, Reporter

The George Floyd protests seem to already be creating a lasting change in U.S. race relations, as demonstrators have caused the removal of several confederate monuments in Southern cities.

Randall Woodfin, the Mayor of Birmingham Alabama, removed the 115 year-old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument from that city’s Linn Park on Monday, after demonstrators toppled a statue of the park’s namesake, Confederate Sailor Charles Linn, and defaced and attempted to tear down the Confederate Monument.  According to a CNN article, Mayor Woodfin’s actions ran contrary to a 2017 Alabama law which prohibits local governments from removing or tampering with memorials located on public property for 40 years or more.

“If there’s a judgment rendered from the judge, then we should be held accountable and I believe I am willing to accept that, because that is a lower cost than civil unrest in our city,” said Woodley in regards to any lawsuits brought by the state’s attorney general.

A statue of a Confederate soldier called “Appomattox” which stood at the intersection of South Washington and Prince Streets in Alexandria, Va. since 1889 was also removed on Monday.  The statue was moved by its owners, The United Daughters of the Confederacy, who’s Richmond Headquarters were burned by protesters on Saturday, were reportedly planning to move the statue, but accelerated the process.

In Nashville, a statue of Edward Carmack was torn down near the State Capitol Building.  According to a Monday story published in USA Today, Carmack was a former Tennessee lawmaker and newspaper publisher who promoted racist views.  His editorial attacks and calls for retaliation against Ida B. Wells, a Tennessee journalist who supported civil right, resulted in her newspaper office in Memphis being burned.

The Robert E. Lee memorial and a statue of Stonewall Jackson were defaced on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va.

In Montgomery, Ala. A statue of Lee was torn from its pedestal in front of Robert E. Lee High School.

The movement to remove what many see as monuments to racism and hatred came to the forefront in 2017 when a white nationalist, protesting the planned removal of a Lee monument in Charlottesville, Va., drove his vehicle into a group of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring several others.