A number of Confederate symbols across the southern United States have been vandalized in the wake of the nationwide protests against the police killing of a Black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Even defenders of Confederate monuments, which civil rights activists say are reminders of institutional racism, segregation and slavery, have decided to remove them following the outrage over the killing of George Floyd.
A wave of Confederate memorial removals that began after a white supremacist killed nine Black people at a church in South Carolina in 2015 is again rolling, with more relics of the Old South being removed from public view after the killing of Floyd.
The city of Birmingham, Alabama, removed a 115-year-old Confederate monument near the site where four Black girls were killed in a racist church bombing in 1963.
The graffiti-covered, pocked base of the massive Confederate monument was all that remained on Tuesday after crews dismantled the towering obelisk and trucked it away in pieces overnight. Other symbols came down elsewhere, leaving an empty pedestal in Virginia and a bare flagpole in Florida.
“I’m glad it’s been removed because it has been so long, and we know that it’s a hate monument,” said Sarah Collins Rudolph, 69. “It just represented the hard times back there a long time ago.”
In Alexandria, Virginia, it was the United Daughters of the Confederacy that took action early on Tuesday, removing the statue of a soldier gazing south from the Old Town since 1889.
And outside Tampa, Florida, a Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter lowered a huge Confederate battle flag that has long flown in view of two interstate highways.
“The things that we were fighting for in the 60s aren’t solved yet,” said Rudolph, who testified against Ku Klux Klansmen convicted in the bombing that claimed the life her sister. “We shouldn’t be treated the way they treat us.”