While monuments in Tennessee, South Carolina, and Mississippi were defaced, two in Virginia and Alabama were taken down by Tuesday.
Nationwide protests around the police killing of George Floyd have grown to encompass other social justice issues, including the removal of Confederate monuments. The push has been met with some success.
In Nashville Saturday, near the Tennessee state capitol, protestors tore down a statue of Edward Carmack. The lawmaker and newspaper publisher promoted racist views and was a vocal foe of Ida B. Wells, the Black female journalist most known for publishing a survey of lynchings across the South in the early 20th century.
The Confederate Defenders statue in Charleston, South Carolina, was tagged with the words “BLM” and “traitors,” the Associated Press reported. And a Confederate monument at the University of Mississippi’s campus had “spiritual genocide” and blood-red handprints painted on its sides. A Confederate monument at the State Capitol in Raleigh was vandalized, too.
Protesters in Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, targeted several racist monuments over the weekend. The statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was covered in graffiti, spray painted with the words “No More White Supremacy,” “Blood On Your Hands” and “Black Lives Matter.” Monuments to Stonewall Jackson and JEB Stuart were similarly defaced, and a noose hung around the neck of the Jefferson Davis statue. Davis was the president of the Confederacy and a fanatic defender of slavery.
The Richmond-based headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was also set ablaze early Sunday. The next day the organization informed officials in Alexandria, Virginia, that as its owners, they would be removing the landmark statue of a Confederate soldier in the city’s center.
The statue, called Appomattox, has stood since 1889. Alexandria stopped flying the Confederate flag five years ago and had sought to shed the statue as well, but state law protected the monument. It was uninstalled Tuesday.
Sunday night, in Birmingham, Alabama, demonstrators took aim at the 52-foot obelisk of the 115-year old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Linn Park. Before it could be destroyed, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin arrived.
“Allow me to finish the job for you,” Woodfin said, pleading with the crowd to leave.
Protestors demanded it be removed that night, and before vacating took down another statue dedicated to Confederate sailor Charles Linn using rope, manpower and a truck. Linn’s statue was installed in 2013. Alabama’s attorney general issued a statement threatening to pursue civil action if the mayor proceeded to act on his promise to remove the monument, but the mayor said it would be worth the cost.
“In order to prevent more civil unrest in our city, I think it is very imperative that we remove this statue that’s in Linn Park,” Woodfin said at a news conference Monday.
The base of a massive Confederate monument in Alabama’s largest city was all that remained Tuesday after crews dismantled the towering obelisk and trucked it away in pieces.
Sarah Collins Rudolph, whose sister Addie Mae Collins died in a racist church bombing that killed three other black girls in the city in 1963, came to see the remains. She lowered a protective face mask to take in the sight.
“I’m glad it’s been removed because it has been so long. It’s a hate monument,” said Rudolph. She was seriously injured in the blast at 16th Street Baptist Church, and testified against Ku Klux Klansmen who were convicted in the killings.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.