Confederate Monuments Will Come Down in New Orleans

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Heated debate as New Orleans considers removing Confederate monuments.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans City Council has voted in favor of removing prominent Confederate monuments along some of its busiest streets — a sweeping move by a city seeking to break with its Confederate past. Lawmakers in New Orleans and many of the locals engaged in a heated debate Thursday ahead of a City Council vote over whether to remove the city’s Confederate monuments. Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been talking about having the symbols removed for about a year, but requested to officially topple the statues a week after the Charleston Church shooting in June.

Landrieu says New Orleans wants to present itself as a city that values culture and diversity, and big places in the city need to be reserved for that. Beauregard, the Confederate general, mounted on a horse in the center of another traffic circle at the entrance to City Park could be struck from the cityscape.

As for what happens next, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration has said that a private donor has offered to pay for the monuments’ removal but has not said when that will occur or where the monuments will be moved to. Anti-Confederate sentiment has grown since then around the country, along with protests against police mistreatment, as embodied by the Black Lives Matter movement. The council members’ sentiments echo the emotions in the public, and those supporting the removal are applauded loudly while the two who have spoken against the removal are heckled. Do it for our children, and our children’s children.” Opponents of the removal plan want the council to consider alternatives, including erecting other monuments to tell a wider narrative about the Civil War.

Another City Council member, James Gray, says the monuments do not reflect the true history of New Orleans, a city he says was mostly on the side of the Union and not the Confederacy. Michael Duplantier told the meeting: “We cannot hit a delete button for the messy parts of our history.” Others say the council should go further and remove statues and change street names they say are associated with “white supremacy.” Activist Malcolm Suber calls the monuments “products of the Jim Crow era, an era when blacks were hunted and persecuted.” Mayor Landrieu first called for taking down the monuments following the June mass shooting at the African-American Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white supremacist that left nine parishioners dead. With eyes wide open, we should truly remember history and not revere a false version of it.” In South Carolina, a Confederate battle flag was removed from the Capitol grounds. Charles Avenue since 1884: A 16-foot-tall bronze statue of Lee stands atop a 60-foot-high Doric marble column, which itself rises over granite slabs on an earthen mound. In the South, allegiance to Confederate symbols has been slowly eroding, according to David Butler, a human geographer at University of Southern Mississippi.

Landrieu says a commission should be established to consider creating a park where the city’s history — and the removed monuments — can be explained. On Tuesday, a volunteer group that looks after monuments across the city said it had collected about 31,000 signatures of people opposed to the removal of the monuments. “But a lot of us were Confederates,” he added. “New Orleans was part of the Confederacy. In 1993, these words were covered by a granite slab with a new inscription, saying the obelisk honors “Americans on both sides” who died and that the conflict “should teach us lessons for the future.” Before the cote, council member at-large Stacy Head asked to keep the large monuments to Lee and Beauregard in place. A majority of council members and the mayor support the move, which would be one of the strongest gestures yet by American city to sever ties with Confederate history. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Clancy Dubos, a New Orleans columnist and chairman of a weekly newspaper, suggested turning Lee Circle into “Generals Circle” by adding a statue of Union Gen.

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