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20 May 2017, 04:29 | Laverne Osborne
Last Confederate Monument Removed in New Orleans
The most recent removal happened early Wednesday morning, when the 102-year-old bronze statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard was removed from the Bayou St. John entrance to City Park. The city of New Orleansplans to take down the confederate statue on Friday, May 18, 2017, completing the so.
Workers prepare to take down the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Lee Circle in New Orleans, Friday, May 19, 2017.
The issue gained momentum after the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina, by a self-described white supremacist who prosecutors said posed for photos with the Confederate battle flag. Some proclaimed the importance of preserving "heritage", others said the Lee statue was a celebration of slavery.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Friday marked the removal of the fourth and final Confederate monument by calling on city residents, and the nation as a whole, to get serious about confronting white supremacy and racism.
(AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld). New Orleans police keep watch over pro-monument protesters and anti-monument protesters Tuesday, May 16, 2017, as the Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard is prepared for removal from the entrance to City Park in New Orlean. After pictures emerged of Roof, an avowed white supremacist, posing with the Confederate flag, a fierce national debate emerged over the symbol of the Southern Army.
City officials closed the circle and rerouted streetcar traffic on Thursday evening, and the removal work took most of the day on Friday.
That public space continues to be named Lee Circle.
The city said in a news release that the statues were "erected decades after the Civil War to celebrate the 'Cult of the Lost Cause, ' a movement recognized across the South as celebrating and promoting white supremacy".
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, however, addressed the city and select patrons at Gallier Hall about the end of the removal of the four monuments that included monuments to The Battle of Liberty Place, the Jefferson Davis Memorial and the monument to P.G.T. Beauregard.
Revisionist historians can take The South out of New Orleans, but they can't take New Orleans out of The South.
New Orleans resolved in 2015 to take down some of the city's most visible and controversial Confederate monuments, its city council declaring they were "public nuisances" that did not reflect the city's diversity or full history. The opponents need to see the monuments for what they are: a fictional, sanitized view of American history, the mayor said.
The Crescent City White League monument was taken down on April 24 and the Davis statue on May 11. The process started around 7 a.m. and the statue still hadn't been removed as of 3 p.m.
The process was delayed for almost two years by a succession of lawsuits from historic preservation groups and monument supporters.
The city has received offers from public and private institutions to take individual monuments, so it will solicit proposals on where they will go through an "open and transparent selection". "We can not be afraid of the truth", said Landrieu, who along with other city leaders chose to take down the monuments in 2015, a decision that withstood challenges in federal court. A lawsuit there has stalled that statue's removal for at least six months. Remarkably, the city removed the monument from its original location in 1989 but re-erected and relocated it after a federal lawsuit.
The city said those taking the statues can not display them outdoors on public property in New Orleans.
The platforms where the monuments once stood will be decorated with public art and American flags, city authorities say.
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