It has been more than 150 years since the end of the four-year American Civil War (1861-1865) which claimed the lives of over 600,000 people.
The Confederate States of America, also known as the Confederation, were a group of 11 southern states that separated from the Union in 1860. The states, in order of secession, were South Carolina, Mississippi , Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.
These states wanted to preserve the institution of slavery on which they largely depended to build their economy.
Eventually, the Confederation was defeated and slavery was abolished.
Debate and removal of a monument
In the United States, there are approximately 1,741 public symbols of Confederation, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
These symbols include schools, parks, bridges, roads, statues and more.
Although many Americans recognize the immorality of historic colonialists, slave owners and anti-abolitionists, some say that these symbols should be preserved to recall the country’s past.
In 2017, during a demonstration against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer after driving his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Since then, at least 44 monuments have been removed across the country.
The map below shows where 771 the statues and monuments are in the United States:
The number of statues and monuments in each state:
North Carolina 96;
South Carolina 58;
District of Columbia 10;
West Virginia 9;
New Mexico 4;
(Last update of figures in July 2019 by Southern Poverty Law Center)
George Floyd protests
Protests across the United States erupted – leading to widespread unrest – after the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.
Protesters and officials demanded the removal of all public statues or monuments seen as symbols of racism in the United States, including Confederate monuments, many of which were forcibly removed by demonstrators or ordered by city councils.
Here is a list of some of the Confederate monuments and statues that have been removed in the past two weeks:
Statue of Robert E Lee, Montgomery, Alabama
The statue of Robert E Lee, one of the most renowned Confederate generals who fought in the American Civil War, was knocked down on June 1 in front of a high school bearing his name.
Four people were charged in the incident.
Appomattox statue, Alexandria, Virginia
The monument to the Confederate soldier called “Appomattox”, erected in 1889, was removed on June 3. The statue has been courting controversy for years, many demanding its removal.
Justin Wilson, the mayor of Alexandria, posted images of the statue’s removal, adding that the city, “like all major cities, is constantly changing and evolving”.
Statue of john b castleman, Louisville, Kentucky
The 107-year-old statue was a well-known local landmark that was removed on June 8.
The mayor of Louisville, Democrat Greg Fisher, said that the statue of John B Castleman was likely to be moved to the cemetery of the Confederate icon.
Fischer has been struggling for years to have the 15-foot statue dismantled and has already said that the city should not “maintain statues that serve as validation symbols for racist or sectarian ideology. “
Confederate monument, Indianapolis, Indiana
The 10-meter (35-foot) monument, built in 1912 and moved to Garfield Park in 1928, was dedicated to Confederate soldiers.
The monument was removed on June 8.
Confederate Monument, Jacksonville, Florida
The monument, located in Hemming Park, was built in honor of the Jacksonville Light Infantry which was part of Confederation.
The bronze statue has been in the park since 1898.
Zebulon Baird Vance monument, Asheville, North Carolina
The 15-meter (50-foot) monument of Confederate military officer and former Governor of North Carolina, Zebulon Baird Vance, has been ordered to be removed after Asheville City Council voted unanimously on June 9 to remove the Confederate monuments from the city.
Source: Al Jazeera