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Over 150 Confederate Monuments Were Taken Down in a Year Roiled by Unrest

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At least 160 Confederate monuments were removed in 2020, more than in the previous four years combined, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Montgomery, Alabama-based law center keeps a count of over 2,000 statues, symbols, placards, buildings and public parks dedicated to Confederate figures.

It has been tracking a movement to take down the monuments since 2015.

“These racist symbols only serve to uphold revisionist history and the belief that white supremacy remains morally acceptable,” SPLC chief of staff Lecia Brooks said in a statement. “This is why we believe that all symbols of white supremacy should be removed from public spaces.”

The push to remove the monuments was fueled by nationwide unrest last summer after the death of George Floyd.

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A statue of Robert E. Lee, the most famous Confederate general, was recently removed from the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. A statue of Jefferson Davis, who served as president of the Confederacy before becoming a U.S. senator for Mississippi, still stands there.

The SPLC says there are 704 Confederate monuments still standing across the U.S.

Taking some of them down may be difficult, particularly in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, where lawmakers have enacted policies protecting the monuments.

A Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, has been spray-painted with so-called “protest art” including anti-police messages.

Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered the statue’s removal over the summer, but several ongoing lawsuits have kept it from being taken down.


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