Atlanta, Georgia – Carrying signs decrying “racist traitors,” about a hundred civil rights activists marched and chanted at Georgia’s Stone Mountain on Saturday to protest at the return of an annual celebration of the Confederacy at the foot of a towering monument to the heroes of the South’s pro-slavery past. As dozens of state and local police, including SWAT teams with armored trucks, looked on, the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) with 200 supporters gathered for its celebration, which it says honors the sacrifices of their forebears. The Atlanta NAACP and other civil rights supporters, some using megaphones to try to shout down the event, which it views as a salute to the South’s legacy of racism.
Charlottesville, Va., triggered a movement. In the wake of a 2017 white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally that left one dead and several injured, activists across the country have worked diligently to exorcise the lingering ghosts of the Confederacy. Most recently, a coalition of anti-racist students at the University of North Carolina brought down a statue of “Silent Sam”—the latest in a series of victories over the chintzy reification of white supremacy. And yet from Seattle to Pennsylvania, totems of racial violence can be found just around the corner. Take the nation’s pre-eminent military academy—and my alma mater—the U.S. Military Academy, or West Point.
Read The Moving Letter The Descendant Of A Racist Confederate Leader Wrote In Support Of Anti-Racist Activists
Meg Yarnell, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Julian Carr, is calling for academic and criminal charges to be dropped against Maya Little and other anti-racist activists who have been arrested for protests related to the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam. In an open letter to University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill administrators, including Chancellor Carol Folt, Yarnell notes that she is “grateful for what Maya did to contextualize this statue and advance the cause for its removal.” In the weeks and months following the toppling of Silent Sam on August 20, Carr’s speech at the statue’s 1913 dedication ceremony has been widely recirculated.
The South may have lost the Civil War militarily, but it won politically. For most of United States history, laws and policies that favor the South haveprevailed. Originally, this hegemonywas based on the Southern states’ paradoxical use of slavery to seize disproportionate power in national institutions. At the beginning of the Republic, slave states wanted to count each slave as one person for the purpose of apportioning representatives in the House. However, slaves had no civil rights, couldn’t vote, and would not in fact be represented by those elected on this basis; the North therefore took the position that slaves should not be counted as part of the population. As a compromise,the Constitution established that each slave counted as 3/5ths of a person.
District Attorney Roger Echols announced Tuesday afternoon that he is dropping the charges against the five remaining people accused of destroying a Confederate statue in downtown Durham last summer. The announcement follows a long day in District Court Monday in which a judge acquitted one defendant, Raul Mauro Jimenez, and dismissed the charges against two others, Peter Gilbert and Dante Strobino, after an assistant district attorney presented all her evidence. The judge said the prosecution failed to prove the defendants were guilty of three misdemeanors: injury to real property, defacing a public building or monument and conspiracy to deface a public building or monument. Prosecutors presented all of the admissible evidence available, Echols said. Since his office planned to present the same evidence against the remaining defendants, it no longer made sense to prosecute the case...
By Virginia Bridges and Joe Johnson for The Herald Sun. Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols said Thursday he has dropped charges against some of the dozen people charged with toppling a Confederate monument in downtown Durham in August. Echols said he signed the dismissals against three of the 12 people charged in the Aug. 14 toppling. “There was no actual visual evidence or any type of evidence that they would have participated in the physical toppling or pulling down of the property,” Echols said.
By Will Drabold for Mic - Less than a week after the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, at least 13 Confederate monuments have been removed from public spaces across the country. From California to Ohio and Maryland to Florida, monuments that critics say celebrate slavery have been pulled down by protesters and quietly removed in the dark of night by local governments. There are at least 700 Confederate symbols on public property in the U.S. Across the southern states, monuments to Confederate soldiers and generals hold prominent positions in town squares and outside county courthouses. On Aug. 12, one of them — a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia — became the site of a violent clash between white supremacists and anti-racist counterprotesters. So far, Mic has identified 49 movements in 2017 that have successfully removed or are pushing to remove specific Confederate monuments. These include online petitions, in-person protests, moves by city officials and other efforts to remove memorials. Dozens of these movements began in the last several days. At least 20 Confederate monuments have been removed from public land in 2017 alone (a 21st was relocated from public land in one Kentucky city to another).
By John Zangas for DC Media Group - Washington, D.C. — Civil rights activists from several groups rallied at the statue of Civil War general Albert Pike Friday afternoon, demanding the U.S. Park Service immediately take it down. Speakers told the history of General Pike and related how such a statue on federal land symbolizes racism, White supremacy and oppression. About 100 joined in the rally. During the rally, someone threw red paint on its granite base but was not arrested. The water-based paint trickled down the base as a heavy storm hit. Park Police attempted to wash off the paint but were only partially successful. The Alfred Pike statue has stood near the Federal Appeals Court since 1902, sandwiched between several elms and blending in, because its has a moss-green surface from over 115 years of weathering. And it would have continued standing almost unnoticed had it not bee for the Charlottesville terror attack a week ago Saturday. That attack happened right after police ended a Neo-Nazi and White supremacist protest of the planned removal of a Civil War statue of General Robert E. Lee.
By Jessica Corbett for Common Dreams - Harris and his friends—who helped him escape the violent attack to seek medical attention—were in the area to protest a gathering of white supremacists who were demonstrating at Emancipation Park in response to the city's plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. "They were beating me with poles. I have eight staples in my head, a broken wrist and a chipped tooth," Harris told The Root. "The beating happened right beside the Police Department, and no police were there to help me at all. My mother is now thinking about suing the city of Charlottesville," Harris added. While reporting indicates police may have some leads in the assault on Harris, no arrests have been made or charges filed. "Despite widespread internet video footage of the beating," the New York Daily News reported Wednesday, "not a single suspect was in custody three days after the bloody assault." Harris's beating has been broadcast for the world to see, but the inaction by law enforcement was not limited to this case. Even though city and state officials spent weeks preparing for the demonstrations, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe eventually declared a state of emergency to shut down demonstrations Saturday, dozens of people were injured and 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed.
By Derrick Lewis and Amy Cutler for CBS North Carolina - Around 7:10 p.m. a woman using a ladder climbed the statue of a Confederate soldier and attached a rope around the statue. Moments later, the crowd pulled on the rope and the statue fell. One man quickly ran up and spat on the statue and several others began kicking it. Durham police later said they monitored the protests to make sure they were “safe,” but did not interfere with the statue toppling because it happened on county property. “Because this incident occurred on county property, where county law enforcement officials were staffed, no arrests were made by DPD officers,” Durham Police spokesman Wil Glenn wrote in an email statement. Durham County Sheriff’s deputies videotaped the statue being brought down — but didn’t stop it from happening. After toppling the statue, the protesters started marching. They blocked traffic with authorities trying to stay ahead of them. The protesters made their way down E. Main Street to the site of the new Durham Police Department. In 1924, the Confederate statue was dedicated to Durham.
By Julia Manchester for The Hill. The mayor of Lexington, Ky., is accelerating his plans to remove Confederate statues from key locations in the city due to violence spurred by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. "I am taking action to relocate the Confederate statues. We have thoroughly examined this issue, and heard from many of our citizens," Mayor Jim Gray (D) said on Twitter. "The tragic events in Charlottesville today have accelerated the announcement I intended to make next week," he continued. Gray said he is looking to remove Confederate statues at the city's Historic Courthouse, which will be the city's new visitors center.
By Ashana Bigard for The Progressive - Many New Orleanians celebrated at the removal of confederate monuments around the city in recent weeks. But on the same day that Robert E. Lee’s bronzed image came down from Lee Circle, two black boys (like hundreds of boys throughout the city and state of Louisiana) were not allowed to graduate for arbitrary, punitive, and potentially illegal reasons. The monuments may be gone, but structural racism continues to create barriers for students of color in New Orleans schools. Take the cases of Rahsaan Ison and Rashaad Brown, both enrolled at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. They had requested a tutor in Spanish, and one was provided to them under state and federal law protecting students with disabilities. But the tutor turned out to be so unprofessional that their school claimed he had cheated on a test by answering questions for them, and refused to accept any of their work, making it impossible for them to achieve their graduation requirements. I acted as a student advocate for the boys, and I asked for an accommodation on the 504 plan so they could graduate with the rest of the class.
By Joshua F.J. Inwood and Derek H. Alderman for The Conversation - Monuments and other commemorative sites tell at least two stories, according to sociologist James Loewen. The first is the story of the people and events commemorated by the memorial. The other is a deeper tale of how the monument was created, by whom and for what political purpose. Memorials, thus, are shaped by a broad range of political, economic and social relationships. For example, the contested Confederate memorials of New Orleans, along with those in many other cities, were dedicated during a Jim Crow era in which whites actively discriminated against African-Americans. In this respect, the monuments to the Confederacy in New Orleans and many other cities are doubly problematic. They not only publicly honor the Confederacy, but also are a symbol of an era that saw the continuation of institutionalized racism and black disenfranchisement. During the era of segregation white elites employed these statues to take advantage of the racial anxieties of poor whites and to remind civil rights-seeking black communities of who really mattered and belonged (and who did not) in the city.
By Derek Cosson for The Pulse - Just hours before workers removed a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee — the fourth Confederate monument to be dismantled in New Orleans in recent weeks — Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a special address at historic Gallier Hall. Here’s a full transcript of Landrieu’s remarks: Thank you for coming. The soul of our beloved City is deeply rooted in a history that has evolved over thousands of years; rooted in a diverse people who have been here together every step of the way – for both good and for ill. It is a history that holds in its heart the stories of Native Americans: the Choctaw, Houma Nation, the Chitimacha. Of Hernando de Soto, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the Acadians, the Islenos, the enslaved people from Senegambia, Free People of Color, the Haitians, the Germans, both the empires of Francexii and Spain. The Italians, the Irish, the Cubans, the south and central Americans, the Vietnamese and so many more. You see: New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling cauldron of many cultures.
By David Swanson for Let's Try Democracy - Charlottesville is a diverse, enlightened, and progressive college town in Virginia with its public spaces dominated by war memorials, in particular memorials to Confederate soldiers not from Charlottesville who represent a five-year moment in the centuries of this place's history, as viewed by one wealthy white male racist donor at another moment in the 1920s. As the Black Lives Matter movement took off nationally this year, many Charlottesville residents demanded that imposing monuments to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson be removed from their places of prominence.