Confederate symbols have proven difficult to remove in many states

Austin, Texas (AP) — Passing the entrance gate to the Texas Capitol, there is a large monument honoring Confederate soldiers, with towering statues and “for constitutionally guaranteed state rights.” There is an inscription that says “I’m dead.”

It is one of seven Confederate monuments on the grounds of the Texas Capitol. More than a century and a half after the Civil War ended slavery, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, public spaces across the country have more than 2,000 Confederate symbols, from monuments to building names.

After George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last year, the movement to remove Confederate monuments and depictions of historical figures who abused Native Americans became part of the national reputation for racial injustice. ..on the other hand Many have been deleted — Or demolished by protesters — it has proven difficult to get rid of what’s left.

At least six southern states have policies to protect the monument, but the Historical Conservation Commission and the Republican legislature have said it is important to slow down and preserve America’s past.

“We are in a very important moment of calculation and racial justice,” said Democratic Texas Rep. Rafael, who submitted a proposal to the Republican-controlled parliament to remove the Confederate depiction at the State Capitol. Anchia said. “This really fits into the process of racial truth and reconciliation.”

But he opposes Republican law to protect the monument. Anchia’s actions are still waiting for the hearing of the Commission, which died in an attempt to remove Confederate monuments and holidays in previous sessions.

Texas isn’t the only country facing this problem in a difficult battle.

Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee have conservation laws aimed primarily at “protecting Confederate monuments and monuments.” The majority of them rose in the early days of Jim Crow.

“The truth of the matter is that most of these monuments and monuments provide no historical background,” Brooks said. “It’s just a way to worship those who fought for the continuation of slavery.”

2017 law was approved in Alabama as some cities began removing Confederate statues Prohibit deletion or modification of monuments Over 40 years old. Violations are fined $ 25,000, but some cities choose to withdraw and pay the breach.

In March, Alabama Legislature rejected legislative changes that would give cities and counties a way to remove federal monuments and relocate them for preservation.

In Pennsylvania, a bill from the Senate Republican Party does not allow the removal of public monuments without the approval of the legislature and will result in serious fines.

Republican Senator Doug Mastriano said in a statement that Pennsylvania has thousands of monuments and monuments that “help tell future generations of the American story.” He said his legislation came “in response to the famous case of the destruction of a public monument.”

Mastriano’s measures also withheld state support from local governments that refused to uphold laws protecting public monuments, saying, “If the district attorney refuses to prosecute, the monument within state jurisdiction Demands the Pennsylvania Attorney General to prioritize prosecution of issues related to vandalism. “

The Ohio Statehouse has postponed the removal of the 9-foot (3 meter) high statue of Christopher Columbus until at least 2025. Since 1932, he has stood on the grounds of the city’s Capitol, named after him. Critics say the explorer’s monument ignores the abuse of indigenous peoples when Europeans settled in North America.

The removal of the statue was delayed after state legislatures and city leaders decided in July that the agency managing the site had to go through a formal removal process.

According to the rules approved by the Capitol Square Review Advisory Committee in February, anyone can submit a proposal to remove a “commemorative work,” but final approval will take five years. It was a few days after Mayor Andrew Ginther quickly removed a similar Columbus statue from the city hall.

In a statement, board spokesman Mike Rupert said the rule reflected the process of building a “commemorative work” at the Ohio Statehouse. He said it did not target any monument.

In California, an 18th-century Roman Catholic priest allegedly created nine of the state’s 21 Spanish missions to bring Roman Catholicism to the western United States in a racially unfair protest last summer. The icon of Funipero Serra is defeated. Serra forced Native Americans to stay on mission after conversion or punishment. His statues have been polluted for years by those who said he destroyed the tribes and their culture.

James Ramos, California’s first Native American legislator, wants to replace the statue of Serra in the Capitol. The Democratic Party said it worked with the tribes to consider alternative options and made them aware of the “brutality, genocide, and forced labor” that indigenous people had endured during their missionary days in Spain.

“We bring that argument and that voice that was excluded from the equation when those monuments were erected in 2021 so that they can now have that voice,” Ramos said.

While facing a tough battle in Texas, Anchia parliament after Dallas, one of the state’s largest Confederate monuments, became one of the 168 Confederate symbols removed nationwide last year. I want to remove the controversial icon in the Capitol.

But his legislation opposes the monument protection bill from Republican Senator Brandon Creighton. It creates the process of transforming a state monument into a historical figure, whether it is a monument or a street name, with the opinion of the general public.

“In one opinion, erasing that part of the past is sound and is the best route Texas can take,” Clayton said. “And you have my opinion, and I believe it is very important for many other people here to keep their history in place.”


The Associated Press reporter Mark Scolforo of Harrisburg, PA and Farnoush Amiri of Columbus, Ohio contributed to this report. Coronado and Amiri are members of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues.

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