Heated debate as New Orleans considers removing Confederate monuments

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Heated debate as New Orleans considers removing Confederate monuments.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The latest developments from a New Orleans City Council meeting and vote Thursday to remove prominent Confederate monuments (all times local): Council member at-large Stacy Head asked Thursday to keep large monuments to Confederate commanders Robert E. 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. With support from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a majority on the City Council appears ready to take down four monuments, including a towering statue of Confederate Gen. 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. The New Orleans Police Department will have a strong presence in council chambers following last week’s discussion which led to at least four people being escorted from the meeting. Landrieu says a commission should be established to consider creating a park where the city’s history — and the removed monuments — can be explained. Anti-Confederate sentiment has grown since then around the country, along with protests against police mistreatment, as embodied by the Black Lives Matter movement.

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. 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. 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. A majority of council members and the mayor support removing four major monuments, which would be one of the strongest gestures yet by American city to sever ties with Confederate history. William Tecumseh Sherman, and making Jefferson Davis Parkway into “Presidents Avenue” by adding a statue of Abraham Lincoln. “Historic places, including the Confederate memorials in contention, can be catalysts for a necessary and worthwhile civic discussion,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a statement. “We believe we actually need more historic sites properly interpreted, to help us contextualize and come to terms with this difficult past.”

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