Saturday, 27 May, 2017

Final Confederate monument to come down in New Orleans

Protesters gather before a monument of Jefferson Davis is removed in New Orleans Louisiana Protesters gather before a monument of Jefferson Davis is removed in New Orleans Louisiana
Francis Olson | 19 May, 2017, 23:59

In 1989, construction on Canal Street forced the removal of the monument, but it was relocated to its past location on Iberville Street in 1993.

The Liberty Monument and statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General P.G.T. Beauregard have already come down.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will speak Friday afternoon about the city's efforts to remove the four Confederate monuments.

"We will no longer allow the Confederacy to literally be put on a pedestal in the heart of our city", Landrieu vowed last month after the first statue came down. Recent court rulings cleared the way for the monuments to be removed and relocated following heated public debate and legal fights.

Crews started final preparations to take down the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Circle Friday morning at dawn. It's an image of Lee standing tall in uniform, with his arms crossed defiantly, looking toward the northern horizon from atop a roughly 60-foot-tall column.

Beauvoir is where Jefferson Davis lived during retirement. In 2004, the words "slave owner" were painted on the monument's base.

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Lee commanded Confederate armies against the United States in the Civil War and is a revered figure among supporters of the old South. Instead moving as quickly as possible to remove them in the middle of the night. The city council voted to remove the monument and three other Confederate and white supremacist monuments in December 2015.

The monument was shown off for the first time to a crowd of hundreds - most being relatives of Confederate veterans - during closing ceremonies for the annual convention and reunion of the Louisiana Division of United Confederate Veterans, The Picayune reported.

House Bill 71 allows local governments to take down a memorial only if voters approve the action at "an election held for that goal".

Today, City officials continued the process of removing the two remaining monuments that prominently celebrate the "Lost Cause of the Confederacy".

Those wanting to keep the monument argue in favor of their historical significance.

While some residents believe the monuments should bepreserved lest history be forgotten, Landrieu said, "It's my job to chart the course ahead, not simply to venerate the past". Many Southern areas have done the same since nine black parishioners were fatally shot in 2015 by an avowed racist at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Protesters for and against the removal were in attendance Tuesday night, some waving American flags some waving Confederate flags, as happened when the Davis statue was removed.

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