Con­fed­er­ate statue taken down

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Janet McConnaughey and Re­becca San­tana Associated Press

New Or­leans takes the fi­nal steps in purg­ing its Con­fed­er­ate his­tory, re­mov­ing a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Page

NEW OR­LEANS — They are among the city’s old­est land­marks, as ce­mented to the land­scape of New Or­leans as the Su­per­dome and St. Louis Cathe­dral: a stone obelisk herald­ing white supremacy and three stat­ues of Con­fed­er­ate stal­warts.

But af­ter decades stand­ing sentinel over this South­ern city, the Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments are gone, amid a con­tro­versy that at times hear­kened back to the di­vi­sive­ness of the Civil War they com­mem­o­rated.

The last of the mon­u­ments — a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee fac­ing de­fi­antly north with his arms crossed — was lifted from its pedestal Fri­day. Lee’s was the last of four mon­u­ments to Con­fed­er­ate-era fig­ures to be re­moved un­der a 2015 City Coun­cil vote on a pro­posal byMayor Mitch Lan­drieu.

It caps a nearly twoyearpro­cess that has been railed against by those who feel the mon­u­ments are a part of South­ern her­itage and honor the

dead fromthe­war.

But re­moval of the mon­u­ments has drawn praise from those who saw the­mas bru­tal re­minders of slav­ery and sym­bols of the his­toric op­pres­sion of black peo­ple.

Lan­drieu called for the mon­u­ments’ re­moval in the lin­ger­ing emo­tional af­ter­math of the 2015 mas­sacre of nine black parish­ioners at a South Carolina church. The killer, Dy­lann Roof, was an avowed racist who bran­dished Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flags in pho­tos, recharg­ing the de­bate over whether Con­fed­er­ate em­blems rep­re­sent racism or an hon­or­able her­itage.

While Roof’s ac­tions spurred a de­bate in many parts of the South about whether it­was ap­pro­pri­ate to fly the Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle em­blem — and many places have taken it down — the re­ac­tion in New Or­leans seemed to go fur­ther, knock­ing away at weight­ier, heav­ier parts of his­tory.

Lan­drieu drew­b­lis­ter­ing crit­i­cism from mon­u­ment sup­port­ers and even some po­lit­i­cal al­lies.

But in ex­plain­ing his rea­son­ing, the mayor has re­peat­edly said they do not rep­re­sent the di­ver­sity and fu­ture ofNewOr­leans.

“Th­ese stat­ues are not just stone and metal. They are not just in­no­cent re­mem­brances of a be­nign his­tory. Th­ese mon­u­ments cel­e­brate a fic­tional, san­i­tized Con­fed­er­acy; ig­nor­ing the death, ig­nor­ing the en­slave­ment, ig­nor­ing the ter­ror that it ac­tu­ally stood for,” he said Fri­day.

“Af­ter the Civil War, th­ese stat­ues were a part of that ter­ror­ism, as much as burn­ing a cross on some­one’s lawn,” he said.

GER­ALD HER­BERT/AP

Work­ers pre­pare to take down the last of the Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments, the statue of mil­i­tary leader Robert E. Lee, on Fri­day in Lee Cir­cle in New Or­leans.

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