New Orleans’s Confederate Monument Controversy (Guardian UK. Jan 2016).


After David Mahler’s company won a New Orleans city contract to move four civil war monuments from their places of public honor, some of his clients reportedly threatened to discontinue business with him. Local groups filed a lawsuit to keep the monuments where they stood. Still, Mahler’s team went ahead and measured the memorial to Jefferson Davis – the “president of the Confederate States of America” – for what seemed its inevitable removal.

But death threats followed, until Mahler finally decided to take his team off the job. Then, a week after he backed out, his Lamborghini was found burned to cinder in the parking lot of his company.

Burned car
Photograph: Tannie Guidry/Facebook

The renewed fight over confederate monuments began last summer when Dylann Roof killed nine African Americans at a revered black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and cloaked his reasoning in the Confederate flag. When the state of South Carolina lowered its American flag to half-mast alongside its continuously flying Confederate flag at the Statehouse, activist Bree Newsome climbed up and took the “rebel flag” down herself. Governor Nikki Haley later signed the papers and made it official.

Following South Carolina’s lead, other cities began liquidating their confederate symbols. Baltimore commissioned the removal of monuments to Roger B Taney, Robert E Lee and Thomas J “Stonewall” Jackson. Memphis, Tennessee, is removing a bust of KKK founder Gen Nathan Bedford Forrest. North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Kentucky have publicly debated what to move where, and even Alabama, whose police uniforms feature the stars and bars, are ripping down rebel flags and statues.

New Orleans city government came to the battle this June, when mayor Mitch Landrieu assigned the city council to debate and vote on removing four specific confederate monuments.

There is the Battle of Liberty Place monument, which commemorates the 1874 insurrection wherein around 5,000 members of the Crescent City White League killed roughly 100 of the 3,500 black and white federal officers sent to New Orleans oversee the Reconstruction. In 1932 an inscription was added to it, celebrating the League’s role in preserving “white supremacy in the south”. In 1974, the city tacked on an odd plaque essentially walking back its support of the monument before, in 1989, it was moved to a more out-of-the-way local and its inscription drastically softened. In 1993, America’s favorite klansman David Duke held a re-dedication ceremony for the Liberty Place statue. CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article at The Guardian UK…

Or watch this footage of New Orleans’s City Council’s controversial vote to remove the statues:

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