Some Rare Good News: New Orleans Removes First of Four White Supremacist Monuments

We may have a few white supremacists wandering freely around the White House, but at least New Orleans is working toward removing symbols from its racist history. On Monday, workers began removing the first of four New Orleans Confederate-era statues, which opponents view as a celebration of slavery and the notion of white supremacy. 

The first to go is the Liberty Place Monument, a white obelisk commissioned in 1874 by the Crescent City White League, which commemorates the white mobs that killed police officers in an attempt to stop an integrated post-Civil War government. In 1932, an inscription was added, saying "that the North withdrew troops 'recognized white supremacy in the South' after the group challenged Louisiana's biracial government." That inscription was replaced with a granite slab claiming that the monument pays tribute to "Americans on both sides" and "should teach us lessons for the future."

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told a press conference that "we will no longer allow the Confederacy to literally be put on a pedestal in the heart of our city." He continued, "The statue was put up to honor the killing of police officers by white supremacists... Of the four that we will move, this statue is perhaps the most blatant affront to the values that make America and New Orleans strong today."

The New Orleans City Council first voted to remove the statues in 2015, but the effort was tied up in legal challenges until this year. According to an Associated Press report, the statue was removed around 5:30am to "avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay, some of whom city officials said have made death threats." 

Following the Liberty Place Monument, three additional statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate States of America president Jefferson Davis will be removed soon now that the legal challenges have been resolved.

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