Confederate Monuments & Statues In Virginia, Alabama & Tennessee Are Torn Down & Vandalized With Graffiti Amid George Floyd Protests


Confederate monuments have been toppled in Southern states including Alabama, South Carolina, and Virginia during the historic George Floyd protests sweeping the country. On Tuesday morning the bronze statue of Confederate soldier ‘Appomattox’ was taken down in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia by its owners who feared it would be vandalized in demonstrations. 

The statue, erected in 1889 to honor Confederate soldiers, has been a point of controversy for years but remained standing despite repeated demands for removal, until this week. Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson tweeted photos of the statue removal saying: ‘Alexandria, like all great cities, is constantly changing and evolving.’

A city spokesperson said the owner of the statue – the United Daughters of the Confederacy – notified the city Monday that they would remove the statue. Mayor Wilson said the group opted to remove the memorial because other segregation-era statues have been vandalized in protests sweeping the nation.

It was removed following seven days of protests, both peaceful and violent, across the country to decry the police killing of black man George Floyd.

The owners had previously planned to relocate the 131-year-old statue in July, in accordance with a new state law that allows localities to remove, relocate or contextualize Confederate monuments.

On Monday night the 115-year-old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument in Birmingham, Alabama was removed from its pedestal after it became a focal point in protests against police brutality on Sunday night into early Monday. The statue was removed after the city’s Mayor Randall Woodfin vowed to remove offensive statues in the city.

It was dismantled on what would have been the 212th birthday of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy. The statue had been heavily defaced and covered in graffiti in protests in the city this past week. Now all that’s left are the graffitied words ‘Black Lives Matter.’

Mayor Woodfin said city leaders will not disclose the location of the monument in order to protect it from further damage, as per WBRC. City leaders will decide with state leaders about where the monument will eventually go.

Sarah Collins Rudolph, whose sister Addie Mae Collins died in the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church, had to see the sight for herself on Tuesday. She lowered a protective face mask to take in the absence of an edifice she long considered a symbol of oppression. 

‘I’m glad it’s been removed because it has been so long, and we know that it’s a hate monument,’ Rudolph, 69, said Tuesday. ‘It didn’t represent the blacks. It just represented the hard times back there a long time ago.’

Last week a crowd of protesters decrying police brutality toppled a statue of Confederate Navy captain Charles Linn in a park named after him in Birmingham, Alabama. The Linn monument, just like many other Confederate soldier monuments in the South, has been a point of contentious debate. 

Previous efforts to remove it were blocked by the Alabama attorney general in defense of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, a Republican-backed legislation aimed at making it harder to remove Confederate monuments. But the protests led locals to deal with the monument in their own way.

One person shared video of the statue’s fall on Twitter saying: ‘This is the only kind of destruction we need. Stop burning down the community and burn down the confederate relics.’

In Montgomery, Alabama a statue of General Robert E Lee, the Commander of the Confederate Army in the Civil War, was toppled on Monday. Four people were charged with criminal mischief after they removed the statue amid nationwide protests. 

A Montgomery Public Schools spokesperson confirmed Tuesday the system has the piece and that it is in storage for safekeeping.

In Nashville, Tennessee a statue of controversial former lawmaker and newspaper publisher Edward Carmack, was torn down on Saturday. Outside Tampa, Florida, a Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter lowered a huge Confederate battle flag that has long been flown in view of two interstate highways. 

Confederate monuments that haven’t been toppled have been heavily vandalized, such as the Robert E. Lee memorial and the Stonewall Jackson statue in Richmond, Virginia and the Confederate Defender statue in Charleston, South Carolina, which are now covered in graffiti and spray paint.