Chattanooga Times Free Press

Ransom note threatens to turn stolen Confederat­e monument into a toilet

- BY KIM CHANDLER

After a Confederat­e monument was stolen from an Alabama cemetery last month, a group now claiming responsibi­lity is threatenin­g to turn the ornate sculpture of a chair into a toilet.

The strange saga began on March 20, when the United Daughters of the Confederac­y reported the Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair had gone missing from a Selma cemetery. District Attorney Michael Jackson said an email signed “White Lies Matter” was sent to media outlets Monday claiming to be from the person, or people, who took the chair.

The Associated Press could not confirm the authentici­ty of the claim and the email’s author did not identify themselves.

“Selma is like ‘The Twilight Zone,’” District Attorney Michael Jackson told The Associated Press. “It’s never a dull moment here.”

The email said the chair will be returned only if the United Daughters of the Confederac­y agrees to display a banner at their Richmond, Virginia, headquarte­rs bearing a quote from a Black Liberation Army activist on Friday, the anniversar­y of the South’s surrender in the Civil War. If they don’t, the chair gets turned into a toilet, the email said.

“Jefferson Davis doesn’t need it anymore. He’s long dead. … Like most Confederat­e monuments, it mostly exists to remind those who’s freedom had to be purchased in blood, that there still exists a portion of our country that is more than willing to continue to spill blood to avoid paying that debt down,” the note said.

Patricia Godwin, a longtime member of the Selma chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederac­y, said the symbolic chair for the Confederat­e president was donated more than a 100 years ago and sat with other Confederat­e monuments in a private section of the Old Live Oak Cemetery. The group said the monument was worth $500,000, according to the police report.

“They need to return the chair. It’s grand theft,” Godwin told The Associated Press.

The email went out two days after the UDC ran an ad in the local paper seeking the chair’s return, Godwin said.

Jackson said he thinks whoever sent the email is responsibl­e for the theft. It included photos of what looks to be the ornate stone or concrete chair sitting on plywood inside a building and another of someone rolling a large object away from the cemetery.

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