In these horrible times, one doesn’t have much to cheer. Here’s something!
Authorities removed a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in New Orleans early Thursday, as protesters both for and against the monument carried out tense protests nearby.
Following demonstrations and lengthy legal wrangles, the statue is one of four monuments relating to the Confederacy that’s in the process of being removed by the Louisiana city.
Demonstrators carrying Confederate flags and chanting “President Davis” argued with protesters shouting “take ’em down” — referring to the monuments they see as totems of racism and white supremacy.
Police were forced to separate the two groups and there were reports of altercations. Some public transport was disrupted.
Some of the pro-monument demonstrators chanted “Mitch for prison” — a reference to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu who is backing the monuments’ removal.
Due to the risk of repercussions, crews wearing masks and protective helmets arrived in the dead of night with no warning or announcement, and the company name on their truck had been blacked out. The monument was protected in bubble wrap, attached to a crane and lifted off its plinth.
A large cheer erupted when the statue was finally lifted into the air. The term “Jefferson Davis” was also the top-trending term across the U.S. on Thursday morning.
This is genuinely a wonderful thing. Again, these aren’t “monuments to history.” They are expressions of Jim Crow power, placed on the population of New Orleans at a moment where black voting and social rights had been repressed by force. They served, in the minds of the people who erected them, as social lessons to the black population, reminding them who was still in charge. There is no good reason to keep these statues up.