As cities across the country are tearing down and relocating Confederate monuments, a county in southern Alabama on Sunday unveiled a new one. Several hundred people attended a dedication ceremony for the Unknown Alabama Confederate Soldiers monument at Confederate Veterans Memorial Park in Crenshaw County, 55 miles south of Montgomery. The memorial park's owner and developer, David Coggins, said the groups in attendance weren't white nationalists or racists, but were acknowledging their heritage and honoring Confederate soldiers everywhere. The Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans attended the ceremony, along with reenactors dressed in period clothing.
A protester kicks the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier after it was pulled down in Durham, N.C. Activists used a rope to pull down the monument outside a Durham courthouse. This past weekend's violent protests against the planned removal of a Charlottesville, Virginia, monument commemorating Robert E. Lee by "alt-right" activists and white supremacists--and the counter-protests that opposed those demonstrations--has captured the attention of the entire country. But the effort to take down the symbols that glorify the Confederacy and its leaders are far from new. The tensions in Charlottesville build on a movement that surged after a white supremacist killed nine parishioners at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C. in 2015.
After Saturday's car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, many local officials are again debating whether to remove or relocate the Confederate statues and other historical markers in their cities. While Baltimore hastily removed four of theirs with the approval of its city council, protesters in Durham, North Carolina toppled one before any officials could act. But on Wednesday, Alabama's attorney general sued the city of Birmingham and the mayor for partially covering a Confederate monument downtown with a wooden box. Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement that the move violated the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, which was passed earlier this year and prohibits local officials from removing historical structures, including Confederate monuments, that are more than 40 years old. "The city of Birmingham does not have the right to violate the law and leaves my office with no choice but to file suit," Marshall said in a statement.
Workers dismantle the Liberty Place monument in New Orleans on April 24, 2017. The monument commemorated whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government. Workers dismantle the Liberty Place monument in New Orleans on April 24, 2017. The monument commemorated whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government. New Orleans on Monday became the latest of a growing number of Deep South cities to purge its public space of Civil War-era memorials that some say are historically significant and others dismiss as offensive relics of white supremacy.