Category: struggle against slavery
Another One Fallen: New Orleans Takes Down Confederate Robert E. Lee Statue


02:12 20.05.2017Get short URL


New Orleans has taken down another monument to its Confederate past: Friday evening, a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was pulled from its pedestal, a process that was attended by spectators and livestreamed by news organizations.

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The idea to remove the statue was first proposed by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu back in 2015. The general had towered over the city for more than 100 years, but after white supremacist Dylann Roof massacred nine black churchgoers in fellow former Confederate state South Carolina, the wisdom of honoring Lee so publicly was called into question.

According to US National Public Radio, this is the fourth Confederate-era monument to be removed in New Orleans. The first, a monument to a deadly 1874 white supremacist uprising, was taken down on April 24. A couple of weeks later, a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was toppled; on Wednesday, a statue of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard was removed.

The campaign to remove the statues has been highly controversial. According to the Washington Post, contractors have received death threats, and nearly every heavy-crane company in southern Louisiana was also threatened.

Because of that, the first three statues were removed during the night. General Lee’s statue is the first to be removed during daylight.

According to Landrieu, the monuments are the result of what he called “a cult of the lost cause.”

“This cult had one goal and one goal only: through monuments and other means to rewrite history, to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity,” he said.

The fate of the statues is undetermined. City authorities have reportedly received a number of proposals from various public and private organizations. Certain restrictions are to be placed on the monuments in their future homes: for example, the new owners will not be allowed to display them outdoors on public property in New Orleans.

The platforms where the monuments once stood will be decorated with public art and American flags, city authorities say.

New Orleans Removes Third Confederate Monument Amid Threats
P.G.T. Beauregard Statue

New Orleans Removes Third Confederate Monument Amid Threats

© AP Photo/ Gerald Herbert

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The city of New Orleans has taken down a third Confederate monument amid massive tensions and threats.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on Wednesday, city workers donning helmets and bulletproof vests removed a statue of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. Demonstrators, both for and against the monuments removal gathered at the scene.

“Today we take another step in defining our City not by our past but by our bright future,” Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement. “While we must honor our history, we will not allow the Confederacy to be put on a pedestal in the heart of New Orleans.”Last week, a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was removed and placed in a warehouse with the other monuments until an appropriate home for them can be determined.

“After nearly two years of planning and court battles, City officials began the process today of removing the three remaining monuments that prominently celebrate the ‘Lost Cause of the Confederacy.’ The statues that are being removed were erected decades after the Civil War to celebrate the ‘Cult of the Lost Cause,’ a movement recognized across the South as celebrating and promoting white supremacy,” Landrieu’s office said in a statement as the workers were removing the Davis monument last Thursday.

Late last month, workers removing the first statue also donned helmets, masks and bulletproof vests, as they had reportedly received death threats.The statue was erected in 1891 to honor the failed rebellion of the Crescent City White League militia, which sought to topple the biracial government after the Civil War.Landrieu began his quest to remove the offending statutes two years ago, but faced legal hurdles and challenges by opponents. Those who wanted the monuments to stay cited historical relevance and context.

There is now one more monument that the city has set for removal, that of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which will surely be the most contentious removal.

Confederate monuments: Washington and Lee University not interested in New Orleans statues

With the monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee the final of four expected to be taken down in New Orleans, there’s one place to cross off the list as its possible destination: Washington and Lee University.

In a May 10 email to | The Times-Picayune, a spokeswoman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office wrote that “Landrieu and members of his staff have spoken with individuals affiliated with a number of different organizations — including Washington and Lee University, Beauvoir and the Smithsonian Museum — to gauge interest” in acquiring the city’s four Confederate monuments slated for removal.

However, a spokeswoman for Washington and Lee subsequently reached out to to deny that any such conversation had taken place, saying she was “not aware of anyone from the city of New Orleans contacting Washington and Lee about the statues.”

A spokesman for Landrieu has since clarified the original statement.

“An alum of Washington and Lee mentioned that university as a possibility,” said Landrieu’s communications director, Tyronne Walker. “Since that time, we have received communication officially saying to us that in fact Washington and Lee is not a good option from their perspective because the statue that exists in New Orleans is about his time as a soldier, and their university focuses on any work he did around education post the war. … That’s the extent of our exploration of that option.”

Landrieu and his office have consistently said the four Confederate monuments — which, in addition to Lee, include statues of Jefferson Davis and P.G.T Beauregard and an obelisk commemorating the Battle of Liberty Place — should be placed somewhere in their “proper context,” but there has yet to be consensus as to what that will be once all four are removed. Until those determinations are made, the monuments are being housed in an undisclosed city warehouse.

In an interview last week, Thomas Payne, executive director at Beauvoir, the Biloxi, Mississippi, home housing Jefferson Davis’ presidential library, confirmed his team would appreciate any of the Confederate monuments.

Walker didn’t know which specific museum within the Smithsonian Institution might be interested in the monuments, but noted it’s possible the four statues could be sent in different directions.

“Our focus has primarily been on the removal process. … The truth is (where they end up) is not determined yet,” he said. “We’re open to ideas from institutions and museums who may be interested in the monuments once we have some viable options.”

Green Party of New Orleans statement on monuments

The Green Party of New Orleans enthusiastically supports the City’s efforts to remove monuments to white supremacy from the streets of New Orleans, and we wholeheartedly endorse the efforts of Take Em Down NOLA in pressing the demands of this cause.

Jefferson Davis, Slave Owner

As students of history, we know that these monuments were not erected as memorials to the Civil War so much as symbols aiming to reinforce the dominant ideology of white supremacy. The Confederacy, after all, lost the war, and slavery was outlawed; the monuments were designed to say, “Yet still, we rule.” They were designed to maintain and reproduce a harsh and rigid racial caste system.

It is time to unequivocally repudiate this oppressive system. Removing these monuments is symbolic of that ongoing effort.

We understand the value of historical artifacts. We call on the City administration to take great care with the monuments, once removed, to ensure that they are placed in a proper educational context, where they can be studied and remembered for what they are.

We are proud of the leading role that liberatory activists in our city have played in the long struggle for justice. At the same time, we recognize that this work is far from complete. As the struggle continues, we aim to work with those who organize and fight for justice and liberty.

[Revised 13 May 2017]

New Orleans Removes First of 4 Confederate Statues–20170424-0029.html

  • Liberty Monument in New Orleans before its removal today.

    Liberty Monument in New Orleans before its removal today. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 April 2017 (2 hours 58 minutes ago)


The taking down the first statue was welcomed by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who called it the “most offensive” of the four.

Workers in New Orleans Monday removed “The Battle of Liberty Place Monument” Monday, the first of the four Confederate statues slated to be taken down as part of the removal of racist symbols that glorify activities of white supremacists.

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According to the mayor’s office, the monument commemorated “an 1874 attack on the racially integrated city police and state militia by the white supremacists Crescent City White League.” The monument glorified segregation in the southern state.

The taking down of the racially divisive symbol was welcomed by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who called it the “most offensive” of the four statues. The other three statues slated for removal from public spaces are one of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America during the U.S. Civil War, and two of its generals, Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard.

The statues that have little relevance to New Orleans were installed decades after the end of the Civil War in 1865, as part of the “Cult of the Lost Cause,” the city said in a statement. “The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates our diversity, inclusion and tolerance,” the mayor told local TV station WWL-TV.

In 2015, following the deaths of nine Black church goers in South Carolina, the city council voted to take the statues down. A small group of people protested the takedown, saying, that the move disregarded their historic legacy. “None of them owned slaves, none of them were fighting for slavery,” protester Paul McIntyre told USA Today.

The statue removals are part of a larger trend to put an end to glorifying racist historical events and white supremacist figures, consigning the slavery-era monuments to museums. “We can remember these divisive chapters in our history in a museum or other facility where they can be put in context — and that’s where these statues belong,” Landrieu said.