Southern mayor takes new approach toward Confederate monuments

RICHMOND, Virginia - The city of New Orleans removed the third of four monuments to Confederate leaders in the early morning hours, Wednesday.

Protestors turned out again, and security was tight, as the statue of P.G.T. Beauregard was taken down.

Workers and city leaders have faced death threats since the city of New Orleans announced the plan to remove the statues.

The push by southern cities to remove monuments and Confederate flags from public display follows the 2015 shooting at a predominantly black church in South Carolina.

In the former Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia, the newly elected progressive, African American mayor wants to take a different approach to the many statues along Monument Avenue.

"I think currently as they stand without any context, they are an endorsement of a shameful past," Mayor Levar Stoney said.

Grand monuments to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, along with General Robert E. Lee and others line the street into downtown Richmond.

Stoney wants to add historical context to the monuments so visitors and residents get a better idea who the statues depict and what they stood for.

"I think we have an opportunity here in the city to actually be a hub for reconciliation and describe for the public who these individuals are and how they got there."

The mayor says there is no formal plan yet, but he also hopes to add more monuments for figures in African American history along Monument Avenue.

Currently only one, the most recent statue, is dedicated to an African American.

Tennis star Arthur Ashe has a monument on the northwest end of Monument Avenue. He was not allowed to play tennis on the white-only courts in his hometown of Richmond.

Ashe died in 1993. The monument was built in 1996.

New Orleans still has one more monument to remove. The giant statue of Robert E. Lee in the middle of Lee Circle.

The city of New Orleans has not been publicizing when the monuments would come down. Instead moving as quickly as possible to remove them in the middle of the night.

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